My Money, Your Money, Our Money — Who’s in Charge?

As long as both people are working and earning an income, this is a fairly simple way to resolve things. But what do you do if one spouse or partner is at home and does not work? This becomes more of a problem. If one person is given an allowance by the other, the issue of control comes into play.

According to an article on families.com titled, “Control Issues in Marriage: Money as a Source of Control”, when a woman (or a man) has no income, the income earner can wield power over the spouse who isn’t working. For women, who still earn less than men generally and are more likely to be at home with children, this is damaging to their self-esteem and creates conflict between them. Many men don’t start out wanting to control their spouses but when put in this situation, start to want to know exactly how their partner is spending every penny. They often question purchases and make their partner feel guilty.

When a husband or wife feels controlled, this builds deep resentment and is very damaging to the relationship.

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10 Ways You Really Can Change the World

1. Make a U-Turn.

Instead of feeling hopeless and victimized, believing you are just one person and can’t do anything, recognize that you need to start telling yourself that you’re going to be in control, in charge of the one thing you really can be in charge of — yourself.

2. Talk to Yourself, Out Loud, Every Day.

Stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye and make affirmative statements to yourself.

“I am strong. I am smart. I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to.”

Say these over and over to yourself until you start to feel the power of your words inside your body.

3. Make Behavioral Changes to Go With Your New Mindset.

Set short-term goals to put these changes into practice.

a) I will say hello with a smile to five strangers everyday.
b) I will lift my head high and walk with my shoulders back an hour the first day, and an additional hour each day after that.
c) I will turn off my cell (phone and text) one hour a day and interact with a live human being.

These first three behavioral activities may take you a while to implement. Before you start, sit down, read them through carefully and decide how long is a reasonable time for you to accomplish these changes. Remember you have to actually feel different, not just act different. Pick a time frame for yourself, perhaps three to five weeks, then dive in. Don’t procrastinate, no matter how many good reasons you have.

When your three to five weeks is up, and you are handling these tasks well everyday, you are probably starting to wonder what this has to do with changing the world.

Well I have a surprise for you. You already have changed your world by changing the most important thing in your immediate universe — yourself.

You may already be getting comments from friends and family, telling you things like “You seem different but I’m not sure how” or “You seem much more confident when we talk.” You may notice people having a different and positive response to you when you walk past standing tall, smiling and saying hello. They may smile back and say something nice.

These are all very good changes and you can feel proud of yourself even if you do nothing more, but you are going to do much more, because you want to change the world.

4. Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen.

My experience with several thousand clients has shown that the visceral process of putting pen to paper and seeing your thoughts go from your mind and heart to your paper aids in forging a stronger commitment. Make a list of the 10 problems in the world that concern you most, the ones you believe most urgently need changing. Look your list over and decide which one is most important to you, then prioritize them, most important to least important. This is backup for later.

5. Take a different piece of paper and write down what specifically needs to be done to bring about this change.

For example, Reverse Climate Change. On the second paper you might put:

1 – Eliminate fossil fuels
2 – create new legislative standards for car emissions
3 – implement changes in beef production to cut down methane emissions

Just continue your list like this. You may have 10, 20, 30 items when you’re done. There’s no right or wrong amount. This is your list, you’re in charge.

 

Continue Reading Here Via The Huffington Post

2 of the Most Serious Problems in Your Marriage (And They Happen Before You’re Even Married)

There are the difficulties of developing relationships with your new in-laws and learning how to handling fighting with your soon-to-be spouse. The list goes on and on but I want to get back to my 2 concerns.

The first, and to me as a Marriage and Family Therapist for many years, the most serious, is about expectations. If I had a dollar for every time a young woman or man or an older woman or man said to me, “My wedding is going to be the best day of my life” I’d have an awful lot of dollars.

I’d like to break this sentence down. “My wedding (a single event) is going to be the best day of my life.” If that were to turn out to be true, and based on what couples tell me after their weddings are over, it almost never is true even at the time, then what does that say about your hopes of happiness for the rest of your life? Apparently, these people think it’s all downhill from the wedding. Putting such pressure on a single day, a single event causes tremendous stress on everyone to try and make everything perfect, and we all know nothing is ever perfect.

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According to GoodTherapy.org, quoting a book by R.S. Miller (2011) called Intimate Relationships, couples site constant pressure, criticism and opinions from others as sources of substantial stress when planning a wedding. They also indicate that finances, and expectations for perfection (unattainable) are equally stress-producing per H.T. Reis, Rusbult, C.E. (2004) in his work “Close Relationships: Key Readings. N.Y. Psychology Press

Why does this concern me? Because when perfection is not achieved, depression and self-criticism often sets in. I see couples come in and feel deflated. They had such high expectations for their wedding day and then there were problems. The band wasn’t as great as they’d thought. The food was too cold. The flowers were wilted. The guests didn’t seem to have much fun. And even when all these things went really well, many couples feel let down after the day itself. I believe this is because reality has now set in and the real work of being married and learning to live with someone else and be committed to that person forever feels overwhelming. So many brides and grooms feel doubt. Did they pick the right person? Why aren’t they feeling all tingly and excited anymore? Can they really stay with only one person for the rest of their lives? Coming from such a high as the perfect wedding expectation back to the real world is a roller coaster ride and can be quite devastating. If couples had realistic expectations for their wedding day it would make for a much smoother transition.

 

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Two Great Things Exercise Is Guaranteed to Do For You

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of last month were telling us two and a half hours of exercise could lower your risk for these diseases. You don’t need to run a marathon or climb Half-Dome at Yosemite. You just need to do some moderate intensity aerobic activity. For any of you who don’t know it, weight-bearing workouts (cables, weights etc.) are definitely aerobic…I know this first-hand. If you can handle it, doing more is better. Building up to something every day is the best. You can start slow and gradually get where you want to be.

Type 2 Diabetes is practically at epidemic proportions in our country now, even in kids. Getting them off the couch, away from the video games, and moving is the best gift a parent or friend can give. You may be saving a life. Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of developing this deadly disease and even if you already have it, it can lower your blood glucose levels. If you have the notorious fat roll around your waist and/or high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, or high blood sugar (otherwise known as Metabolic Syndrome), the same amount of aerobic activity will lower your rate of getting these conditions. These are also not the two things I am talking about, but we’ll get there.

You can reduce the risks of certain cancers; help strengthen your bones (which helps to protect you if you fall) and your muscles, which help protect lots of important organs in your body.

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According to Scientific American in a January 2009 article, they quote the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging Americans to do moderate exercise for two and a half hours a week. They recommend brisk walking, water aerobics, or more vigorous running, swimming, or cycling for an hour and fifteen minutes a week. These are all good forms of exercise but are generally outside except for the cycling or running which you can do at the gym. I personally prefer weight-bearing exercise as it has many additional benefits such as weight-loss and toning and can be done indoors, even at home, all year. There is ample evidence now that exercise will add years to your life. People who are NOT couch potatoes live an average of three to seven years longer. You can get a lot of good stuff done in those extra years and have a lot of fun.

But these things are still not the ones I want to tell you about. So let’s move on to those. The 2 Great Things Exercise is Guaranteed to Do For You are:

 

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So You Think You’re Happy?

What exactly is happiness? A feeling? A state of mind? A level of accomplishment? You probably can’t answer that, and there’s a good reason why. Happiness is a very individual thing — it’s different for each of us. In the … Continue reading

3 Dating Deal-Breakers: How to Know if He or She is the One

Bad Relationship Signs in Oprah.com has an article titled “Dating Deal Breakers: 8 signs We All Overlook.” The author, psychologist Terri Orbuch, wrote a book called “5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great.” While I don’t agree with all her eight signs as being deal-breakers, I do agree with one.

2015-09-28-1443402645-1352840-imgres3-thumbIn my over 30 years working as a marriage and family therapist with couples, I have found that if couples don’t listen to each other, and really hear what their partner is saying, it is a prelude for disaster.

Many men will hear a woman complain about some problem she’s having, perhaps at work, and rather than showing empathy for how she’s feeling about it, they just want to quickly come up with a solution to fix it. While well-meaning, this is not helpful and not a good pattern to start off with in a relationship. If a guy is doing this on the first few dates, it’s probably not going to get better.

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3 Ways to Put the Fun Back Into Your Sex Life — One May Surprise You!

Let’s get back to how to put the fun back, and the first way is what I like to call:

1) Planned Spontaneity

This means that you actually find some time in advance that you are both going to be available for something spontaneous. The reason I say this is that life doesn’t just stop because you’ve decided to go fly a kite.

Dr. Phil, in his book Love Smart: Find the One You Want, Fix the One You Got lists qualities in a man’s personality that may be important to a woman looking for a good relationship. One of these is being spontaneous. Dr. Phil describes this as someone who can live on the edge, pick up and go on the spur of the moment. He says this quality is important to him because he thinks too much planning takes all the fun out of having a good time.

I agree that over-planning feels confining and takes the surprise element out of spontaneity. However, if you come home from work and want to whisk your partner off for a romantic dinner picnic at the beach and a walk holding hands with the waves rolling over your feet, you may find that you’ve forgotten something. He may have a late meeting that he stayed for, not knowing you had anything planned. You may have forgotten to make arrangements for someone to take your children to sports events they had to go to, or a sleepover.

By sitting down together on a regular basis, and mapping out some common time over the coming week or weeks that you will both be available for spontaneous fun, you will ensure that these problems don’t arise and you can actually be together.

I recommend that you each take a turn, going back and forth, at being the one who will “plan” the spontaneous activity. This makes it a real surprise for the other person, and in that sense it is spontaneous. Also, you won’t feel neglected, because you will know that next week or in two weeks it will be your turn.

Germaine Greer said “the essence of pleasure is spontaneity.” I would just add “planned.”

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2) Become your partner

I want you to try and actually pretend to be your partner. Plan an activity together, something sexy and fun, as if you were him doing the planning. Don’t think about what he would like, instead, become him and think what he would do for you. This takes a little work, as we have a hard time letting go of who we are to be able to really see things from another’s perspective. Sitting quietly for 10 or 15 minutes picturing him and what goes on in his head sounds silly, but is worth it. Remember, you ARE him. What you plan from this perspective will definitely be something that you will like, although if you’re really good at this, you may end up planning something he thinks you would like that is different from what you’d expect to like. You may find something new you really enjoy that you hadn’t tried before.

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One Sure Thing Guys Can Do to Make Sex Better

Yes, there really is one thing that is a surefire way to make your sex life better. And the surprising thing is that it doesn’t have to do with sex at all.

Unlike my other posts where I refer to different experts and references, this post has only one expert …me! As a state-licensed therapist with over 30 years experience, I have given this piece of advice often and seen it work with thousands of individuals and couples who have come to me.

Are you ready for this secret magic tip? Pay attention – here it is!

Be creative out of bed. Yes, sounds like a simple thing to do and it really is if you’re willing to put a little time and thought into it. To help you understand what I mean, I’m going to give you a few examples I’ve suggested to couples and have seen work wonders.

Think about the first place you kissed your partner (this works equally well with girlfriends and spouses). Maybe it was at your local beach at sunset. Go back to the beach and find a lovely shell. Clean it up and take it to one of those frame places where they can place it in a clear acrylic box (it’s glued in place) with some sand you’ve brought back from the beach. When it’s done, you have a lovely paperweight to give her as a reminder of that first kiss. You will score many brownie points for this.

Continue Reading Here via the Huffington Post