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strengthen relationship

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

As a counselor, I often hear the question, “How do I know if it is time to leave my relationship?” People are often confused and afraid of making a mistake, either by staying or by leaving. If you are feeling confused about whether you have any remaining desire to stay in your relationship, consider taking a step back from that decision for a while.

If you have even the slightest feeling that perhaps you should try to work things out, then you owe it to yourself to be sure before you end your relationship. Decide to hold on to yourself and deliberately move toward what you want your relationship to be like. Start acting as if you had a strong desire to strengthen and to be in your relationship. Couple by a tree Don’t think of this as pretending. You are not pretending. You are acting as if things were already the way you want them to be. You may be amazed at how your feelings will begin to change and how your relationship grows from simply acting as if you had a strong desire to be in your marriage. Acting as if you are passionately in love may begin to kindle those passionate feelings.

Withholding love has the same result as refusing to water your plants. First they will wilt and eventually they will die. Relationships rarely survive a cold war of withholding and punishing.

As you change your behavior, you may find that you have greater clarity about your relationship. Be aware that “acting as if” will not work if at the same time you are busy keeping score or if you have the attitude that you are entitled to something in return. When you are generous, it is likely that your partner will be generous in return.

Watch Your Focus

Take the Challenge: Step one: Write down the things your partner does that drive you crazy or that you wish they would do differently.

Step two: Write down the things that your partner does that you love or that you appreciate.

Step three: Promise yourself that you will not mention any of the things on the first list to your partner for the next week. Bite your tongue if necessary. For one week choose to ignore the things that bug you about your partner.

Positive Focus

Step four: Make an effort to notice the things on the second list. Let your partner know that you have noticed. You can say thank you and you can give them sincere compliments. Be sure to notice several things each day for the next week.

At times it may seem as though we are at the mercy of our thoughts and feelings. It is true that we can feel a sudden rush of feelings and can at times feel overwhelmed.

It is also true that we can have a great deal of control over our feeling. That control begins with watching what we choose to focus our attention on. When we choose to focus our attention on our partner flaws and faults, that is what we will see.

Take the challenge and focus your attention on your partner strengths and positive qualities for one whole week. You may find the results so satisfying that you choose to continue for another week and then another.

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.

Financial Stability Preparing for Hard Times

Financial Stability Preparing for Hard Times

Financial difficulties and hard times can put a lot of stress on your relationship. Decide now that you will work together to prepare and to handle any difficulties that may come your way. The following are three tips to get you started:

1. Be Prepared: Hoard a Little

You may have to do this over time, but try to get to the point where you have a two month supply of the necessities. Enough food that you could feed your family for two months without having to go to the store if need be. Don’t forget toilet paper. Every time you shop for food and necessities, take home a couple of extra things and start your own personal stock pile. The strain on your family will be far less when you are prepared.

2. Start Saving

Putting some money away, will help you to be prepared if the worst should happen and you find yourself unemployed for a period of time. If you haven’t already, start putting at least 10% of your income away for a rainy day. Chances are the rainy day could come sooner than you think. Build up your savings until you have at least enough to pay your bills and survive for several months. Having some cash on hand hidden in a safe place is also a good idea, especially in the event of bank failures. Again if you are prepared for the worst then you will be less stressed. This is not something to get frantic or fanatical about, just start saving what you can.

3. Spend Less Than You Earn

If you spend less than you earn you will have financial stability and the peace of mind that comes with financial stability.

If your income is reduced for some reason, reduce your spending accordingly. Downsize to a home that you can afford the payments on immediately. This may be less convenient, but the peace of mind will be worth it. And when your income increases it will be far easier to upgrade when your credit rating is still intact.

Consider the things that you regularly spend money on and be creative in finding ways to reduce the cost of each. There may be some that you can eliminate altogether and others that you can buy less of or find a less expensive way to do the same thing.

Avoid debt wherever possible. Credit card debt is particularly deadly. Avoid putting anything on a credit card that you do not have the money to pay. The outrageous interest rates add up quickly and you can end up drowning in an unpayable debt. If you already have credit card debt, pay it down as quickly as you can. If possible get a line of credit or some other lower interest loan to pay off your credit card, then destroy them if you cannot control them. Pay off all debts as quickly as you can. When hard times hit, it will be far easier if you are not carrying a heavy debt load.