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love

Love Yourself, Love Your Partner

Far too often in counseling sessions I have heard things like: I don’t feel like s/he loves me, I feel like I come second, third or fourth, I feel put aside, I feel unappreciated. Statements like these are often followed by, “I love him (her), but I am not in love with him (her).” When people’s needs are not being met in their relationship there is a tendency to withdraw and withhold, creating an even larger wedge between partners.

Love

Our unsatisfied needs move us to action. When we are feeling that our partner does not love us or that we are not important to them, we will do things to try and reassure ourselves that we are loved and important to our partner. Too often the action that we take moves us farther away, rather than closer to getting our needs met. Consider the wife who feels neglected because her husband is frequently staying late at work. When he does finally get home she is sullen, hurt and angry. What she needs is to feel loved and like he values and wants to spend time with her. However, her behavior ends up pushing him farther away and the time that they do spend together is unsatisfying to both.

For each of us, it is ultimately our own responsibility to meet our own needs. That being said, it feels amazing when our partner helps us to get our needs met. We cannot control what our partner does. We cannot make them behave as if they love us or as if we are important to them. But we can control our thoughts and actions. We can behave as though we love them and they are important to us. Feeling that our needs are not being met can at times make us blind to the needs of those around us.

Before you can jump in and work at meeting your partner’s needs, it is vitally important to first take some time to work on meeting your own needs. Give yourself the gift of loving and accepting yourself. Give yourself the gift of acknowledging and knowing that you are important and that you are worth it. Self-sooth. Find ways to strengthen and energize yourself. Love yourself first, then offer love to your partner.

When you come at trying to help your partner feel loved and important, from a place of knowing that you are loved and important by and to yourself, then your feelings will be more those of giving rather than resenting. When your partner’s needs are met, it is more likely that they will be more aware of your needs and behave in ways that helps you get your needs met. As you can see from the example above, unmet needs too often lead to behavior that is counter-productive. At those times, it takes skill to recognize the need underneath your partner’s behavior.

You can choose to deal with what you can control and decide to reach out to your partner and focus on giving, rather than worrying about what you are not getting. Be aware of the human tendency to give love in ways that feel loving to you. It is extremely important to know your partner and to learn what it is that feels loving to them. Giving gifts of love can feel like a credit or deposit in their emotional bank account. But as Stephen Covey pointed out, “Nothing you do is a deposit unless the other person perceived it as such. “

If you do not know your partner and do not give in ways that are meaningful and feel loving to them then your sacrifices and gifts of love will not be recognized as such. When we focus on giving love, rather than focusing on what we are not getting, we will feel more loving toward our partner and hopefully they, as their emotional bank account fills up, will start behaving and feeling more loving in return.

What Is It Like To Live With Me?

You have probably heard the cliche, talk is cheap. But there is wisdom contained in this concept and it applies doubly in relationships. It can be eye-opening to contemplate the questions: What is it like to live with me? Consider if your behavior backs up your claims that you love your partner. Words like, “I'm sorry” or “I love you,” quickly begin to lose their meaning if those words are not followed by loving actions. There are many ways to put your love into actions. The most important thing to remember is that you want to choose loving actions that would be interpreted as loving by your partner.

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Take a few minutes to make a list of the things that you do for and with your partner to demonstrate your love for them. If your list is short or if you are having trouble thinking of things to put on the list, then it may be time to start putting your words into actions. Once you have a list of what you do to show your love for your partner, ask your partner to prepare a list of actions that would feel loving to them. Comparing these two lists will help you see how on target your loving actions are. Below are a few examples of loving actions. You can experiment a little and find out which ones best suit your partner. Feel free to brainstorm to personalize the list.

Do something together:

  • Read a book (take turns reading)
  • Play a sport
  • Play a board game
  • Take a walk
  • Go to the gym

Support your partner:

  • Help around the house
  • Give your partner some space
  • Listen actively
  • Compliment and hug your partner
  • Discuss a problem and find a win win solution

Continue Courting:

  • Plan a date night your partner would love
  • Bring home flowers or a small gift
  • Leave love notes where your partner will find them
  • Meet each other for lunch
  • Plan a getaway weekend

Sacrifice for each other:

  • Make things that are important to your partner important to you
  • Make time for your partner when they need you
  • Give up a habit that frustrates or irritates your partner
  • Accept each other warts and all

Please remember that it is important to be patient when making efforts to improve your relationship. Often people will try behaving more lovingly for a week or two and then get discouraged because their partner has not seemed to notice or has not reciprocated enough. Consistency and patience are required. If we change our attitude to one of generosity and worry less about what we are getting back our gifts of love will have far more impact.

What's Good About Your Partner's Annoying Characteristics?

It is ironic that the very things that attracted us to our partner in the first place, over time often turn into our pet peeves about them. He was calm and quiet, turns into he never shows his feelings. She was the life of the party and so much fun, turns into she is loud and obnoxious. She was independent, now she is stubborn and controlling. He was laid back and fun, now he is irresponsible and childish.

Those cute quirks that seemed attractive at the beginning of the relationship can end up grating on our nerves. They become the annoying characteristics that begin to fray our nerves.  These things become annoying over time partly because we spend so much time together and partly because the rose colored glasses come off and reality sets in.

It is important to recognize that it is not how our partner is that annoys us. This is clear, because mostly in the beginning we either appreciated that quality or easily overlooked it. What annoys us is the judgment that we put on what they are doing. It is the thoughts that we think about how they are or what they are doing. When we identify our partner as irresponsible rather than laid back; stubborn rather than independent, or unfeeling rather than calm, simply by the language we are using, we greatly increase our annoyance factor.

When we try to find the positive side of our partner's annoying characteristics and we reframe what we are saying to ourselves, we may find that our annoyance level drops. Try thinking of the worst opposite you possibly can to your partner’s annoying characteristic. For example, if your partner is stubborn, try thinking, “Well at least they are not completely wishy washy and can never make a decision.” If they happen to be wishy washy and can never make a decision try thinking, “Well at least they do not make rash decision.”

Besides giving us the opportunity to increase our patience and tolerance, our partner's annoying characteristics teach us about ourselves. Partly because what annoys us most in others is usually something that we do not like about ourself. And partly because if we look closely enough we will discover that we are redirecting our frustration by pointing out their flaws. We may find it difficult to honestly talk with our partner about problems in our relationship and as the resentment build up it becomes more and more difficult to overlook their annoying quirks.

We have the opportunity to stop focusing on our partner's flaws and do some soul searching, to examine and learn our own flaws. This gives us the chance to grow as a person. We also have the opportunity to practice being open, honest and assertive with our partner so that our relationship can be healthier and their characteristic can again become more endearing than annoying.

Libido Killers

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There are many factors that can distract, discourage or dampen libido. These are the libido killers. Libido killers affect both men and women. The myth that men always want sex and women never do is simply a myth. In my counselling practice I have seen nearly as many men with low libidos as women.

The following are some factor that tend to reduce libido:

Body Image This issue is not gender specific, both men and women can struggle with body image issues. When you are unhappy or disgusted with your body, the tendency is to hide, to limit and to feel at the very least uncomfortable getting naked and intimate. The shame interferes and can make it almost impossible to relax and enjoy lovemaking.

Past Abuse Sexual molestation or abuse can create associations and feelings that intrude on intimate moments. It can be difficult to leave the past in the past. There may be a pull back reaction, where sex feels like something that should be avoided rather than enjoyed.

Emotional Struggles Depression can leave people uninterested in life, let alone intimate relations. Whether it is cause or affect depression and lowered libido often go hand in hand. As well, antidepressants can have unwanted sexual side effects.

Relationship Problems A lack of intimacy and closeness in the relationship can lead to withdrawal and a loss of interest in lovemaking. Unresolved conflicts can contribute to a build up of resentment, which has the effect of throwing a wet blanket on the flickering candle of desire.

Parenting Busy lives, lack of time alone or privacy and shifting priorities can create roadblocks to sexual expression. Focusing too much attention on the children and no attention on strengthening the couple relationship can seriously decrease libido.

Grief or Loss Grief can bring up anger and sadness, that for periods of time may consume your attention, leaving little room for interest in lovemaking. For some it can feel wrong to enjoy life when their loved one is gone.

Lack of Confidence A lack of confidence in yourself or in your sexual abilities may cause you to talk yourself out of being sexual before you even begin. A sense of confidence makes it easier to feel sensual and to act on those feelings.

Stress When stress levels escalate, it can be difficult to shut off the worries long enough to enjoy being intimate with your partner. Sex can start to feel like just one more thing on the to-do list.

Sleep Deprivation When sex is left to the end of a busy day at the end of a busy week, there can be little motivation and no energy left to feel interested in lovemaking. People can simply be too tired to care.

Making A Good Marriage Great

Whether you are just beginning your relationship or you have had many years together, you can benefit from implementing the following suggestions on making a good marriage great. Marriage is like a living entity and it is either nurtured and growing or it is neglected and crumbling. Hopefully, like mutual funds, over time the trend will be upward. Unfortunately in marriage you do not get to coast for long. The good news is that making your marriage great is simple, not to be confused with easy.

  • Be more concerned about we than me. Selfishness is a relationship killer. Taking your partner's thoughts and feelings into consideration at all times helps you make choices that benefit both of you.
  • Be realistic about expectations. Romance novels are not a good source for relationship templates. What expectation are realistic for your relationship, is something the two of you need to agree upon. Your relationship is unique and needs to work for both of you.
  • Reduce stress. Finding ways to reduce work and other stress can improve your marriage; a happy marriage also makes the rest of your life easier as well.
  • Reminisce. Spend time now and then talking about how we met, started dating, fell in love. Don't worry if your story is not overly dramatic or romantic. Enjoy the fact that it is your story.
  • Live now. Don't get stuck ruminating about your wedding day, good or bad, focus on making your life together. Be present now, enjoy each day you have together and plan for your future.
  • Pay attention to the little things. Daily acts of kindness and consideration are the live-blood of any extraordinary relationship.
  • Solve the solvable problems. Address the minor issues, so they don't build up.
  • Keep or find your sense of humor. There is a quote that says, “Parenting without a sense of humor, is like being an accountant who sucks at math.” This applies doubly to marriage.
  • Focus on the positive. Enough said.
  • Be the change you want in your relationship. Take ownership of your contributions to problems and control what you can control, your words and behavior.
  • Be empathetic. Be willing to see things from your partner's point of view.
  • Make time for each other NOW. Consistency is the key, no matter what else is going on in your life, make time for each other. There may be occasions when it may not be a lot of time, but when making time for each other is your habit, you will know that you can count on each other.

Power of Positive Expectations and Love

Amazing things can happen in your relationship and in your life when you treat others with positive expectations and love. Positive expectations encourage people to live up to their potential. Negative expectations discourage and deflate people. Choose to see the positives in your relationship and in your partner. You can help bring out the best in your partner by focusing on and reinforcing the positive rather than complaining about what you do not like. The following story perfectly illustrates the power of positive expectations and love:

In 1921, Lewis Lawes became the warden at Sing Sing Prison.   No prison was tougher than Sing Sing during that time.   But when Warden Lawes retired some 20 years later, that prison had become a humanitarian institution.   Those who studied the system said credit for the change belonged to Lawes.   But when he was asked about the transformation, here's what he said, "I owe it all to my wonderful wife, Catherine, who is buried outside the prison walls."

Catherine Lawes was a young mother with three small children when her husband became the warden.   Everybody warned her from the beginning that she should never set foot inside the prison walls, but that didn't stop Catherine!   When the first prison basketball game was held, she went... walking into the gym with her three beautiful kids and she sat in the stands with the inmates.

Her attitude was: "My husband and I are going to take care of these men and I believe they will take care of me!   I don't have to worry!"   She insisted on getting acquainted with them and their records.   She discovered one convicted murderer was blind so she paid him a visit.   Holding his hand in hers she said, "Do you read Braille?"

"What's Braille?" he asked.   Then she taught him how to read.   Years later he would weep in love for her.   Later, Catherine found a deaf-mute in prison.   She went to school to learn how to use sign language.   Many said that Catherine Lawes was the body of Jesus that came alive again in Sing Sing from 1921 to 1937.

Then, she was killed in a car accident.   The next morning Lewis Lawes didn't come to work, so the acting warden took his place.   It seemed almost instantly that the prison knew something was wrong.

The following day, her body was resting in a casket in her home, three-quarters of a mile from the prison.   As the acting warden took his early morning walk, he was shocked to see a large crowd of the toughest, hardest-looking criminals gathered like a herd of animals at the main gate.   He came closer and noted tears of grief and sadness.   He knew how much they loved Catherine.   He turned and faced the men, "All right, men you can go.   Just be sure and check in tonight!"   Then he opened the gate and a parade of criminals walked, without a guard, the three-quarters of a mile to stand in line to pay their final respects to Catherine Lawes.

And every one of them checked back in.   Every one! --- Author Unknown

15 Signs of a Healthy Marriage

Happy Couple

Healthy marriages bring psychological and physical benefits. Married people have a healthier immune systems* and live longer. How can you tell if your marriage is one that is healthy and health promoting? The more of the following signs your relationship has the healthier it is. If you find that you are lacking in some areas, take that as valuable information that there is something you could work to improve.

Signs of a Healthy Marriage:

Responsibility for Personal Needs. Partner’s recognize that they are ultimately responsible for meeting their own needs and they do their best to help each other meet those needs.

Respectful Communication. Couples have open and honest communication. They communicate daily when possible.

Relationship is a Priority. Couples continue nourishing their relationship. They consistently create time for the two of them.

Realistic Expectations. Couples in healthy relationships see each other as whole people, with strengths and flaws. They love each other in spite of their weaknesses.

Empathy. Partners are willing and able to empathize with each other. They are willing to see things from their partner’s perspective and make what their partner wants and needs as important to them as what they want and need.

Constructive Conflict. Conflict is a part of healthy relationships. In a healthy relationship conflict is dealt with in an open and respectful way, so that it strengthens the relationship rather than ripping it apart.

Intimacy (sexual and non-sexual) Healthy relationships have a level of trust and connection that is satisfying and comforting. There are expressions of tenderness, caring, and concern. Sexual intimacy is always respectful, unique to each couple and takes into consideration the needs and desires of both partners.

Financial Responsibility. Couples share the decision-making about finances and come to an agreement on how they will handle finances that feels good to both partners.

Flexibility. Partners accept that change is unavoidable. They are proactive, flexible and solution oriented.

Sense of Humor. Couples are able to laugh at themselves and to find the humor in situations. Healthy couples use their sense of humor and good will to enjoy life and to deal with the unsolvable differences in their relationship.

Shared Responsibilities. There is a willingness to share responsibilities and work together as a team to accomplish daily tasks as well as working toward their goals.

Alliance of Two Adults. Partner’s see each other as equals and behave as two mature adults, rather than behaving either childishly or domineeringly.

Individuality. Healthy marriages are the union of two whole people to make one great relationship. Each partner has a sense of his or her own identity.

Loyalty and Faithfulness. Consistent effort to build the relationship helps to affair-prove the marriage. If an affair has happened the couple works together to rebuild trust.

Commitment. Couples choose to use their stubbornness to stick together through tough times. When something goes wrong they work together to solve the issues.

Susan Derry, B.Ed., M.S.Psy., R.T.C., C.P.C.
Professional Counselor & Life Coach
Co-author of Marriage Prep: Beginnings a downloadable marriage preparation course
Co-author of Intimate Sex: Manual for Lovemaking, a sex manual for couples
Offers a free

Compassion Improves Perspective

When you look at the picture below what do you see?Can you see two different possibilities?

Perspective

How many times when you are talking to your partner do you wish that they could see things from your perspective? Do you wonder why s/he cannot just get what you are trying to tell him/her? It may be interesting to pause and wonder if your partner ever feels that you simply do not get it. How many times does your partner wish that you could see things from their perspective?

The challenge in relationships is to get past self-interest to compassion for one another. Compassion suggests that we not only understand what our partner feels and wants, but that we care about how they feel and what they want. Too often selfishness in relationships leaves one or the other or both feeling unloved and unappreciated.

It is important to put your ego aside and give up having to be right in order to find compassion for your self and your partner.

Here are 7 steps to increasing your compassion for your partner:

    1. Think of your partner as once being a precious newborn and having infinite worth. Take some time to really ponder on this idea, until you can feel a warm feeling toward your partner, even if it is only a warm feeling toward them as a lovable infant.

    2. Think of your self as one being a precious newborn and accept that you have infinite worth.

    3. Focus on positive and happy memories from your past together. Look at pictures of fun times.

    4. Each day think of something about your partner that you can be grateful for. Express gratitude to your partner.

    5. Remember that your partner is beautiful (handsome) when s/he is happy and fulfilled. Think of your partner as happy and content.

    6. Increase your acceptance for yourself and for your partner. Accept responsibility for being compassionate toward your partner.

    7. Make your partners feelings and wants as important to you as your own.

Developing compassion for your partner will help you to recognize and feel the love that your partner offers to you.

Outgrow Problems

Carl Jung said, “Our most important problems cannot be solved; they must be outgrown.” In the sense that maturity makes problem solving much more successful, I agree that in order to solve many of our problems we have to grow up first.

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When it comes to many of our important issues increased maturity would go a long way in either resolving issues or learning to live in harmony in spite of differences. We first have to be able to accept responsibility for our own thoughts, words and actions and become aware of how we are contributing to the problem. We then need to be able to listen to our partner and be willing to put ourselves in his/her shoes. We need to be able to hang on to ourselves in the midst of strong emotions, control our temper and sooth our own hurt feelings. All of this requires growing up rather than simply growing older.

Maturity says, lets figure this out together so that it works for both of us. Immaturity says, my way is the right way and you had better agree or else. Maturity says, we disagree and that is okay, I can respect your opinions and hope you can respect mine. Immaturity says, I’m right and you are wrong and you should see things the way I do.

Maturity asks how can we fix the problem? Immaturity asks who is to blame? Maturity says, I appreciate hearing how you are feeling and hearing what would work better for you, thanks for the feedback. Immaturity, says how dare you criticize me when you are just as bad.

When you consider the immature and mature approach to problem solving, it is obvious that the mature approach is much more likely to lead to solutions or resolution. Interestingly, the resolution of our most important problems begins as an inside job. As we grow and mature within ourselves we will find our problems easier to deal with. We will have outgrown our problems.

Healing The Hurt

Are you coming at your relationship from a place of healing or a place of hurting? Is peace and acceptance the umbrella under which your relationship flourishes? Or do anger and judgment undermine its success.

Sean Stephenson said, “The hurt hurt and the healed heal.” When we are hurting inside; we spread hurt to those around us. Ask yourself: Are you whole and happy within yourself? Do you accept and love yourself? This tends to be one of the biggest challenges in therapy—to help clients reach that point of inner peace and acceptance.

If you want healed relationships, first heal yourself. To move toward healing practice becoming your own best friend. What makes a best friend great? They are always there to support you; they tell you the truth, not just what you want to hear; they treat you with respect and encourage you; they see you, not through rose-colored glasses, but in a glass 1/2 full kind of way. They know your faults, but they love you anyway.

People who are wounded and hurting tend to lash out at others, to mistrust and to seek to even the score. Those who are healed understand that although self worth may be affected by what we do, how we look, what we have or many other factors; our REAL WORTH is infinite and can never be increased or decreased.

Give The Gift Of Love

At the beginning of a relationship, giving the gift of love is easy. You feel attracted to each other and are trying to impress each other and find many ways to show that you care. Then the inevitable happens, boredom sets in or conflict arises, and you realize that you don’t feel quite so loving any more. Perhaps you think you’re not in love any more or maybe never were. At those times when you feel less than loving, choosing to behave in a loving way makes it more likely that you will start to feel loving toward your partner. One key to mature, lasting relationships is the understanding that loving feelings follow loving thoughts and actions.

gift of love

Many people ruin today by wasting their time wishing for a better past. There is wisdom in the idea that you must give up the dream of having a better past in order to have a better now. Constantly looking backward with regret will make your life miserable. You can “should” yourself or your partner to death, but that will never change the past.

The question is not what went wrong; the question is where do we go from here. Getting stuck arguing about what has already happened keeps you focused on problems. Letting go of blame, either for yourself or for your partner, can allow you to focus instead on finding a way to make things work for both of you. As your relationship matures, choosing to give the gift of love, especially at those times when you do not feel particularly loving, will help to keep the embers of your love glowing.

Are You Being Generous?

A client asked why it was that she could love her children even though they frustrated her at times, but she was having trouble feeling that she loved her husband? Most people love their children unconditionally. They loved them in spite of bad behavior, they loved them because they are their children. Is it possible to love a partner unconditionally—to accept and love them warts and all?

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Generally we don’t expect that our children pay us back for the love and sacrifice that we offer them. We give and give to our children because we love them; perhaps we love them because we give and give. The key to loving “in spite of” may be to choose to behave lovingly even when we do not feel particularly loving.

Be generous in your relationship. Spend more time watching and thinking about what you are giving to your partner than worrying about what your partner is or is not giving back to you. Stop keeping score and give love freely. You may be surprised at how good it feels to give without strings attached.

Withholding love will cause you to feel less loving toward your partner. Being generous will increase those loving feelings.

Lasting Relationship Skills

A lasting relationship is not a matter of luck or even a matter of choosing the "right one." Even the most promising relationships will struggle if the following relationship skills are ignored. Communication Skills

Skilled communication involves first listening to understand and second speaking to be understood. That means listening with both ears. Try to see things from your partners perspective. Communication skills also involve understanding that your partner cannot read your mind, nor can you read his/hers. Share your thoughts and feelings with your partner. Be clear, open, honest, tactful, and respectful.

Loving Skills

It takes skill to learn to show love to your partner in a way that feels loving to him/her. Don't do a Homer Simpson--Homer gives Marge a bowling ball, because he would love to get a bowling ball. Mature love also means behaving lovingly even when you don't feel particularly loving.

Problem Solving Skills

All relationships encounter problems sooner or later. Problems that are ignored or swept under the rug come back to haunt your relationship. Successful problem solving skills will greatly benefit your relationship

Intimacy Skills

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Learning how to be intimate in a way that meets both of your conditions for arousal and satisfaction takes practice and skill. Selflessness and an openness to learn can help in developing intimacy skills.

Compromise Skills

Compromise is not a dirty word. Learning to compromise is an important relationship skill. This means finding creative ways for both of your needs to be met, even when you cannot agree on how to solve a problem.

Fair Fighting Skills

Fighting fair is essential in lasting relationships. Dirty fighting leaves emotional scars that may never heal. Since all couples fight, whether you call it disagreement or discussion, it is still important to learn how to do it fairly.

Cooperation Skills

Finding ways to manage a household that involve a fair and equitable sharing of workload is vital. As is finding ways to share parenting responsibilities.

These relationship skills are all interconnected. For example, fighting and lack of cooperation will affect your level of intimacy and a lack of intimacy will increase the friction in your relationship. Improving these relationship skills will improve your chances of creating a lasting relationship.

Align Your Expectations With Reality

Expecting to have everything that you want in your marriage will always leave you frustrated. When two people live together it is not possible for one partner to always have everything they want unless the other person ceases to matter and if this happens, the relationship is doomed. Unrealistic expectation put a great deal of stress on your relationship. They set an impossible standard that your partner constantly fails to meet. Expecting that the honeymoon will last forever or that your partner will meet all of your needs are unrealistic. Expecting that your marriage will always be romantic or will make you happy is equally unrealistic.

Happiness is a choice that we make and we are responsible for meeting our own needs. Yes it is wonderful to have a partner to share life with, but being married does not improve our self-esteem or fix our insecurities about our self. Ironically it is our personal insecurities that tend to ruin relationships. What expectation do you have about the following: 1. Loyalty 2. Length of relationship 3. Fidelity 4. Dealing with friends and family 5. What feels loving to you 6. How do you show your love to your partner 7. Respect 8. Sexual 9. Handling problems 10. Children 11. Romance 12. Career and finance 13. Emotional support 14. Roles 15. How to make decisions 16. Fighting 17. Household chores 18. Spending time together and time alone 19. Secrets 20. Pet peeves

Try writing out your expectations for each of the above and sharing them with each other. After talking with your partner reconsider the reasonableness of your expectations.

Carefully examine your expectations of marriage and disregard those that are unrealistic or that are hurting your relationship. Bringing your expectations more in line with reality will help you to feel better about your relationship. Start looking at the glass as half full, start noticing and appreciating the things that are good about your relationship. If you cannot find anything good about your relationship then perhaps you are not in a healthy relationship with your self or your partner.

Dig The Well Before You Are Thirsty

A wise Chinese Proverb says, "Dig the well before you are thirsty." If you were to apply this concept to your relationship what might that mean? Perhaps the time to strengthen your relationship is when things are going good. Now is the time to develop positive relationship habits. Habits such as making time for one another; interacting in positive ways; and really listening to understand each other. Developing solid relationship habits when things are going well may carry you through times when you have struggles.

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"Digging the well" before you are thirsty means that you won't die of thirst while you are digging. While it is true that it is never too late to salvage your relationship, if you want to salvage it, sometimes the "want to salvage" is long gone. (Remember that there are some relationships not worth salvaging, for example abusive relationships).

Unfortunately some relationships end up dying because couples postpone digging the well until they are dying of thirst. Their patience with the digging process is very limited due to the sad state of their relationship. They need and want their thirst eased now and are not prepared to wait in order to see results.

Here are some tools that can help you "dig the well" or strengthen your relationship: Spend time together Laugh together Say thank you to each other Do a kind deed for someone else together Accept rather than blame each other Do at least one nice thing each day for each other

When you consistently put positive energy into your relationship, your well will be deep and your relationship will be a satisfying place to be.

Build Traditions

The idea of developing traditions may sound stuffy and old fashioned, but they can be fun as well. It is up to you to chose traditions that you can enjoy together as a couple. Traditions are all about creating lasting and happy memories, so have fun with creating your own traditions. Choose from our list of ideas or create your own:

  • Always say good-bye with a kiss.
  • Take turns planning a date once a week.
  • Take a bi-yearly holiday, just the two of you.
  • Always greet each other with a hug.
  • Create a word or sign that says, “I love you.”—make it something that is your secret.
  • Have mealtime at the table. Talk and share.
  • Do gardening or yard work together.
  • Once a month have a clean the house morning, followed by a laze in bed and talk afternoon.
  • Have a special rendezvous for lunch.
  • Cook special meals together.

What you choose to do is up to you. What you choose to do is not nearly as important as the opportunity you create for strengthening your bonds of love. So create happy traditions, things that you do over and over again that say I love you and I love spending time with you.

Celebrating Your Anniversary

Celebrating your Anniversary

Your anniversary is a perfect time to build some treasured memories together. Take time to celebrate your relationship and your love. This is a way to confirm your commitment to each other, to take some time to appreciate the great times and acknowledge that you have survived the tough times.

Ideas for Celebrating

It is easy to fall into the routine of dinner out for your anniversary. But with a little thought and creativity, whether you have been married for one year or many, you can create a special time to celebrate your love and life together.

Build and Share Memories

Do something new and fun together to create a treasured memory. Find things that help you laugh and have fun together. Take some time to cuddle up and share memories of fun times together. Share your wedding video or if you were married pre video, look through your wedding photos.

Take a Romantic Getaway

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romanticgetaway

It could be a night in a near by hotel, a weekend, or a full vacation. Where your go doesn’t matter as much as where you put your focus. This is a time to leave distractions behind and enjoy one another. Choosing a place where you can enjoy the beauties and seclusion of nature can help to create an intimate mood.

Romantic Date for Two

Invite your spouse out on a date. Make reservation for a romantic candlelight dinner and then go to a romantic movie or enjoy drinks in a secluded corner of your favorite bar. Take a moonlight stroll along a beach holding hands or go dancing in a romantic atmosphere. Whatever you choose, find magic in your moments together.

Second Honeymoon

Whether there was no time or money for a honeymoon, or your honeymoon was lack luster, or your honeymoon was fantastic a second honeymoon can be a great way to celebrate your anniversary. Plan to go some place you both would like to visit, anything from an exotic spa to a cabin in the woods. Make sure that you have time and space to focus on each other.

Renewing Vows

If your wedding didn’t turn out quite the way you wanted it to or you simply want to reaffirm your love for each other, you could consider renewing your vows. Invite those people you want to share this with. Make it as simple or elaborate as you wish.

Stay at Home

Send the children to Grandmas, lock the door, turn off the distractions (cell phones, TVs) and build a fire in the fireplace or light candles to create a romantic atmosphere. Relax, laugh, play, kiss and enjoy each other. Cuddle up and share fun memories and discuss plans for the future.

Plan a Party

You can choose whether you want a small family celebration or you want a big bash. You may want to get your bridal party from the wedding together for a reunion and celebration.

Go on a Picnic

Choose a secluded spot, preferably where you can enjoy nature, a quiet meadow, a lake or waterfall. Pack a picnic lunch and hike, bike, or drive to your chosen spot. Spend time enjoying nature, sharing, laughing and noshing. What is right for your anniversary is totally up to you. Remember the most important thing - enjoy each other’s company. A special date or just quiet time together is the ticket to a memorable anniversary celebration.

romanticpicnic
romanticpicnic

A Word about Gifts

The two of you should decide whether you wish to exchange gifts for your anniversary. The best gifts are not necessarily those that cost the most. The best gifts are those that say I know you, I love you, I care enough to make an effort.

Questions to answer:

What does your partner like to do, read, watch, eat, wear?

The more you know your partner the easier it is to find that perfect gift just for them. The thoughtful gift is treasured for a lifetime.