Ways to Rekindle Your Marriage!!!

Couple Intimacy

Since we are in the month of AMORE’, what better time to devise a plan to put a little spark or even all out fireworks back into your marriage and/or relationship.  Many times we get overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of everyday life….cooking dinner, cleaning the house, taking care of the kids and lets not for get being the kids personal chauffeur and chaperon, leaves little to no time to show love and affection for your significant other. Basically, we put it on the back burner to everything else that is going on.  Making time for our better halves is very important. Making sure your bond and the lines of communication are good are key to having a happy,healthy and successful relationship.  Although you may be tired, find something you can do at least once a week with your significant other to rekindle your dwindling flame. If your flame is not dwindling…..you can still do things to ignite the spark even more.  After surfing the web I came across an article in the Huffington Post written by Doug and Leslie Gustafson, titled 5 Ways to Rekindle Your Marriage:

  1. Let down your guard and let each other in again. If you are really disconnected and passion has waned for sometime, defensiveness and anger may well have taken loving connections place. Surrender your toughness and soften up to each other.
  2. Create a “rekindle” attitude. Make reaching out and pursuing each other your priority and being playful and flirtatious as you once were your focus. So many couples have seemingly forgotten how to flirt and inject energy into the relationship — that once upon a time came so easily.
  3. Identify “passion builders” together that keep positive, exciting energy alive with your lover. Certainly a vibrant sex life helps, but so does positive communication, attention to each other’s wants and needs on a daily basis and having fun together with your clothes on. As far as the sex goes, change it up with novelty — perhaps sex with your socks and hat on, or going out on a date pretending you’ve never met — where you go all out in seducing one another.
  4. Construct a calendar that honors the need to keep love and passion alive.Don’t let kids or anything interfere with keeping your marriage the number 1 priority and growing and deepening your love life. Get your plan in writing and convert it to a weekly, calendared commitment.
  5. Think of your marriage as a “tepee” where you grow and protect love. Don’t let anything or anyone in your tee pee that could get in the way of your sacred connection to each other! Keep your love out of the “cloud.”

Childhood Anxiety

Childhood Anxiety

Did you know childhood anxiety is not uncommon and it’s actually a normal part of growing up?   I don’t know about you but it’s been a minute or two since I was a kid. I remember getting stressed but compared to adult-level stress and anxiety that we adults experience, I have a hard time keeping my children’s anxiety levels in perspective at times.

Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension with no discernible cause.   Anxiety is normal and is experienced by almost all children at times.   It becomes a concern only when it interferes with a child’s typical daily routine.   Anxiety is usually related to a perceived threat.   Whereas, fear is almost always associated with an external threat.   Anxiety disorders can have crippling effects on a child in school, at home and in social settings.   The causes of anxiety are many and research shows that a tendency toward suffering anxiety is at least partially inherited.   If you are a parent, you can help decrease your child’s anxiety simply by listening to your child.   Often a child will feel anxious about a specific situation and all he needs to do is talk to someone about it.   Of course the first step is that you as the parent realizes that your child is having anxiety, acknowledging that anxiety to the child (although you don’t have to use the word “anxiety”) and letting your child know what they are experiencing is normal. If possible attempt to change any unusual circumstances that may be contributing to the anxiety.  Give your child some ways to cope with it, like talking about it or drawing about it etc.   Perhaps talk with your child about what he or she thinks may help them cope with the anxiety.   Practice consistent discipline measures even you’re your child is anxious. Consistency helps children decrease their overall level of anxiety because sameness breeds a feeling of safety.   Stay away from excessive or unusual discipline practices.   Set realistic, attainable goals for your child.   Teachers should be aware of school phobia. Although school phobia is not an anxiety order per se, it is present when anxiety accompanies a consistent reluctance or complete refusal to go to school.   It may be accompanied by selective mutism, characterized by a child’s refusal to speak at school or in places where he fears the scrutiny of others.  Advocate for your children with the school when they are having phobias associated with school.   Talk to the teach and school counselor about ways to help your child with their school phobia.

In this age of school testing, test anxiety can cause school phobia in children. Recently my child was having test anxiety over timed multiplication tests. My child knew the math but knowing that she was being timed caused her to have test anxiety and her brain would lock up and she just couldn’t get through the test. This resulted in her having several crying spells. I communicated with the teacher about her test anxiety.   I worked with my child not so much on the math but on helping her learn to cope with the anxiety.  I gave her positive coping statements to repeat to herself.  I told her if she did not pass the test I would still loved her and be proud of her; and I only wanted to know that she was trying her best.  I had her do some deep breathing exercising before our practice tests at home.  I asked her to visualize something calming to her.  I had her say a short prayer for peace and mental focus.   The next time she took the test she got very close to a passing score.   The teacher allowed her to pass the test because she knew I was working with her and that she was working hard.  I assured my child that the next time she would probably not get a break on her test score.  But my child learned the most important lesson: that allowing anxiety to take over will cause decreased performance and that she can control her feelings of anxiety.

So if your child is having anxiety problems trying to incorporate the above suggestions. If those suggestions don’t help your child it may be time to seek the help of a professional counselor.

To learn more about childhood anxiety here’s a link to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Here’s another good resource, The Child Anxiety Network.

Breaking Up

Breaking Up

 

Nobody wants to initiate the emotional and awkward conversation of breaking up with your partner. You realize you no longer want to be with your partner, but you also realize that you don’t want the honor of breaking up with them either.  You run through several ways to tell them, without hurting them  – “It’s not you, it’s me” or “Let’s just be friends.”

I recently read an article about the lack of accountability that adult couples are displaying when breaking up with one another.  The article discussed the spectrum of passively breaking up to actively breaking up.

  1. Ghosting – abruptly ending all communication: no initiating or responding to text or phone calls. The person will ghost their partner because they cannot face the pain that breaking up will cause. However, the recipient of this will actually experience more emotional chaos, doubt, and resentment in response to the ghosting behavior.
  2. Icing – counterfeit reason for putting the relationship “on ice” — “It’s not you, It’s me” or “I’m so busy but when my schedule clears up, I can’t wait to hang out.” This mate no longer wants to be in a committed relationship but also wants to keep the door cracked in the event they change their mind in the future. The recipient often feels resentment.
  3. Simmering – decreasing communication and face-to-face contact: They enjoy the companionship and security of the relationship, but something isn’t quite working for them. The recipient will have a sense that something is not right, but there is not enough reason to confront their partner.
  4. Power Parting – breaking up definitively; no statements such as “let’s be friends” or “if I were in a different place in my life….” that will perpetuate wishful thinking. This partner will give their recipient clarity and closure with no ambiguous statements or hopes for reuniting in the future.

Do you know of other ways which people break up with someone in a way that is less than accountable?

The honest truth is that breaking up is going to be a painful experience,  but being honest and doing it in person is a must – no text, e-mail, or phone call. That is what emotionally mature adults do.

Change Is Overdue!!!

Change Is It Possible

Often we will hear individuals speak that change is overdue.  Last night I watched the horrific video regarding the 2014 fatal shooting of 16-year-old Laquan McDonald. Mr. McDonald was an African-American. I am at a loss for words……which if you know me is pretty much impossible. As I sat there with my husband I was absolutely speechless. There was no audio provided with the video…..I am uncertain as to why it was not provided. However, the video does tell you that police are responding to a 911 call stating that a citizen was holding a young man for breaking into cars and stealing radio parts.  According to CNN, McDonald was identified as the alleged robber.  Apparently, McDonald escaped from the citizen and was walking down the middle of the street when officers arrived.  It is also alleged that LaQuan McDonald was carrying a knife.  Jason Van Dyke, a Caucasian Chicago police officer gets out of his vehicle…..again there is no audio and appears to start shooting. Mr. McDonald is clearly wounded by a gun shot, twirls and falls to the ground. Let me repeat….he is wounded and on the ground. At this point, Officer Van Dyke continues to shot Mr. McDonald…..not once or twice more but Mr. McDonald is shot a total of 16 times. Officer Van Dyke reports that he feared for his life and the lives of his fellow officers. There were seven other officers at the scene and no one else fired their weapon. Even sadder, no one attempted to render aid to Mr. McDonald. Nor did they try to stop Officer Van Dyke.  Having a teenage son around this age has me full of emotions.  Mr. McDonald is someone’s child…..yes child.  No one deserves to be shot down like a dog in the street. Heck, if this act had happened to an animal, PETA would be all over it!!! These actions have become all to complacent in the USA. If we can not trust police officers to do their job and protect and serve….who can we trust? I know some will say Mr. McDonald was breaking the law……..yes, maybe he was but he was not caught by officers doing so and he was not found guilty in a court of law. When did police officers become judge and jury?  This is a complete tragedy…….I want to emphasize that not only do Black Lives Matter……all LIFE MATTERS!!!!

Change is definitely overdue!!!

Help be a solution to this growing problem!!!

 

http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/11/25/laquan-mcdonald-chicago-shooting-dashcam-video-orig-mg.cnn/video/playlists/digital-studios-topicals/

Commercialized Valentine’s Day

Commercialized Valentine’s Day

I told my husband of 14 years to not worry about to getting anything for me this Valentine’s Day.  No, I’m not the best wife ever or being a martyr.   I just was thinking of how manufactured and commercialized Valentine’s Day has become.   Americans and those looking to make a profit after Christmas have turned this holiday into something that often produces a lot of pressure. If you’re in a relationship then you feel pressured with “what should I buy him/her?”   And if you’re not then you might be bummed on Valentine’s Day with seeing all the social media posts about “look what I got from my ____, he/she is so wonderful!”  Then I had a second thought. For those men that are not naturally romantic this holiday pushes them to think and do things outside of their comfort zone.

Have you ever heard that men’s minds are like waffles and women’s minds are like spaghetti?   This means that in a woman’s brain everything connects.   We can start out talking about work and end up talking about how we think we need another pair of shoes.   Women totally just got how that would connect!   Men section things off in their minds.   When they talk about work, they focus on that, they don’t move to another topic without a noticeable verbal transition to signify why the second subject is coming up.   When they do things they are in that “box” and don’t easily get out of that box without first a little mental effort and deciding to do so. For instance, when a man is watching a football game, he’s in his “sports box.” If the wife walks in and asks him a question he either doesn’t hear her because she is not in the sports box with him or if he hears her then he must make a mental effort to switch boxes. Sometimes depending on the question he must occupy two boxes: the relationship box (so he doesn’t respond in a negative way because she just interrupted his sports box) and perhaps the parent box because she asked him a question about the kids.   Women, by the way, men really do have a nothing box then can mentally go to! I know —-MIND BLOWN!—– they really are thinking of nothing when you ask them “what cha thinking?” and they respond with “nuthin.”

So even though Valentine’s Day is a overly commercialized holiday. And YES you should tell someone you love him or her more than one time per year. It is a good reminder for men to get into their “loving/romantic box” because for some men that box is not used very often and sometimes forgotten about for weeks at a time.

So I hope you had a good Valentine’s Day and if you didn’t then I hope this helps you realize that men and women’s brains work differently. So you can now decide to be happy that you’re single and you don’t have to deal with this box and spaghetti thing. Or if you’re in a relationship you can decided to give some grace to your loved one because some boxes are hard to access and some plates of spaghetti are covered with too much sauce (i.e. stress)

To give credit: I did not come with the concept of boxes and spaghetti. I borrowed it from Jimmy and Karen Evans. I can’t recall the name of the video but here’s a link to their YouTube page where there’s a ton of great videos on marriage.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Teenage Heartbreak

Although I do consider Valentine’s Day to be a commercialized, man-made holiday…..I do appreciate the foundation for which it stands. Valentine’s Day is the day to openly express your love for your loved ones. By openly, I do not mean vulgar……some things need to kept behind closed doors and sometimes vaults! I’m quite sure most of you know what I am speaking of.  Don’t get me wrong, I am for tasteful public displays of affection.  Valentine’s Day is a time to express your love and/or admiration for the special people in your life….not just your significant other.  You do not necessarily have to go spend an arm and a leg to show your appreciation for your loved ones. Yes, commercialization is absolutely a money-maker. There are many other things you could do that cost very little or are absolutely free. Instead of the fancy five coarse meal (nice but not always necessary), cook a nice meal to enjoy by candlelight at home. Enjoy a nice bottle of wine while watching a movie from Redbox. Make you significant other a card. Make them a delicious dessert….who said it has to be imported chocolates? The main point to get across to your loved ones is that they are loved and that you appreciate them and all they do to make your life more meaningful and fulfilled.   I do not think this should just be a once a year occurrence. You should love and cherish the time you have with your loved ones and govern yourself accordingly.  We happened to be Blessed with the most amazing Valentine’s Day gift ever…..the birth of our daughter. Usually on this day we celebrate her. My husband and I celebrate having one another on a daily basis. I know what works for us may not necessarily work for you….just wanted to share some options.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!