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  • Womans Divorce

    July 16th, 2010

    Is It Time To Go Your Separate Ways

    How do you know if it’s time to go your separate ways or give your marriage another chance? So many people in the middle of a relationship crisis struggle with this decision. If you’re on the brink of divorce, the following article can give you some things to consider before you make your decision.

    How to Know If It’s Time to Go
    By Lawrence Birnbach, Ph.D & Beverly Hyman, Ph.D.
    Ann and Gary have two children. When Gary is home his major interest is watching sports TV. Ann longs to be more social with family and friends. She’d like to talk more with Gary. He says there is nothing much to talk about, and besides, she talks too much. Gary often criticizes Ann. He thinks Ann is too strict with their children. She thinks he’s uninvolved. Their lack of communication and closeness has spread to their sex life which is neither frequent nor enjoyable. She has lost respect for Gary, and feels he doesn’t treat her with respect. When Gary has aggravation at work, Ann no longer feels sympathetic. Ann feels the life has gone out of their marriage; it has become an empty shell. She may be right. Ann, like millions of married women, lies awake at night asking herself “Is this all I can expect out of life? Are we just going through a rough patch? Would I be happier if I divorced?” How does anyone having problems in their marriage, know if it’s time to go? Ending a marriage is one of life’s most difficult decisions. Before making it, a person should leave no stone unturned in trying to heal and bring life back to their marriage.
    Try to Fix It
    Open a dialogue: Ann needs to open a dialogue with Gary. She needs to be clear about  what she is troubled by. In our book, How to Know If It’s Time to Go, we offer a “Marriage Test,” a “Marriage Bill of Rights,” and “The Nine Areas,” these are the areas all couples must resolve differences in. With these tools Ann can identify where the strengths and weaknesses are in her marriage.
    Ann must impress Gary with how serious their situation is. Many times a spouse won’t take the other seriously until they believe that, if things don’t change, it will mean the end of the marriage. They need to have a two way discussion in which they each express their disappointments and wishes for their relationship. Each needs to understand that they have to take some responsibility for getting to this low point. It can’t just be a blame game. If they can’t start communicating with each other, there is little hope that the relationship can improve.
    Seek help
    It would be ideal if Ann could convince Gary to go with her to speak with a counselor or a clergyman, or join a marriage support group. If he won’t, she should go alone. To fix the marriage both people will need to make changes, but Ann can’t control Gary. All she can do is make changes she can make which might help their relationship. After trying to do what she can, if nothing changes, she should deal with her fears of
    separation.
    Deal with Your Fears
    People fear the impact that separating will have on their children, their finances and themselves. Most of what they fear is not what happens for the vast majority of people, although life’s routines are disrupted during a transition period after separation.
    The facts: Here are facts that would be helpful for Ann, or anyone considering divorce, to know:
    75% of women remarry; 83% of men remarry
    most children’s school performance and behavior improves within a couple of years of their parents’ unhappy marriage ending
    within a few years, most men’s and women’s standards of living rebound to approximately where they were prior to divorce
    most divorced fathers live near their children, see them regularly, and reliably pay child support
    two thirds of all divorces are initiated by women; the major reason women give for ending marriages is their husbands’ unwillingness to mature or change
    most divorces are settled amicably, not in court.
    Dr. Lawrence Birnbach is a psychoanalyst who has specialized in working with individuals and couples in troubled relationships for the past 25 years. Dr. Beverly Hyman is an internationally known business and organizational consultant specializing in conflict management. Together, they have written HOW TO KNOW IF IT’S TIME TO GO: A 10-Step Reality Test For Your Marriage.

    Some men and women in troubled marriages convince themselves that they are doing the right thing by not causing open confrontation.By: Lawrence Birnbach, Ph.D. & Beverly Hyman, Ph.D.Troubled marriages make people sick. It may be your mental health that suffers, or it may be your physical health, or both, but, one way or another, troubled marriages make you sick. Research consistently proves that men and women in troubled marriages, and their children, suffer physical and mental ailments at a far higher rate than either the general population or people in happy marriages. Your family’s health suffers whether you and your mate argue openly, or you sweep your differences under the rug.Every couple argues sometimes. What’s injurious to people’s health is when the arguments are frequent, and, most important, remain unresolved. Some men and women in troubled marriages convince themselves that they are doing the right thing by not causing open confrontation. What they don’t realize is that years of stifling your real feelings and your own point of view take a toll. You and your whole family pay a price for your accepting disrespect from your spouse, and behaving with excessive self denial.That price is likely to be your physical and/or mental health.

    Here’s what research has proven about the connection between marital discord andfamily health:* After a couple argues wounds such as cuts take 40% longer to heal than normal.* Women who have critical husbands suffer increased frequency and severity of lower back pain, headaches and arthritis.* After a heart attack the likelihood of having a second one is twice as great among people in troubled marriages.* Men in unhappy marriages have weaker immune systems than men in happy marriages.* People in troubled marriages have a higher frequency of periodontal disease, high blood pressure, obesity, stomach ulcers, premature signs of aging, and type-2 diabetes.* Children and adults from families with troubled marriages suffer much greater frequency of colds, stomach aches, asthma, rashes, headaches, and diarrhea.* Children from families with troubled marriages exhibit more frequent behavior problems, poorer school performance, use more drugs and alcohol, and engage in sexual behavior at earlier ages than their peers from happy families.* People in unhappy marriages have more sleep problems, more depression, more anxiety, and more irritability.* People living in unhappy marriages have more frequent accidents, including automobile accidents.

    In How To Know If It’s Time to Go: A 10 Step Reality Test for Your Marriage, we provide a “Marriage Test” and a “Marriage Bill of Rights” as tools to help couples open a dialogue and diagnose what the areas of their disagreement are and how they can take actions to resolve them. So it’s very important for you and all the members of your family that you do a reality check on your marriage, figure out what needs to be resolved if there are problems, and take those steps.About the Authors:Dr. Lawrence Birnbach is a psychoanalyst who has specialized in working with individuals and couples in troubled relationships for the past 25 years. Dr. Beverly Hyman is an internationally known business and organizational consultant specializing in conflict management. Together, they have written How to Know if It’s Time to Go: A 10-Step Reality Test For Your Marriage.Is It Time To Go Your Separate WaysHow do you know if it’s time to go your separate ways or give your marriage another chance? So many people in the middle of a relationship crisis struggle with this decision.

    If you’re on the brink of divorce, the following article can give you some things to consider before you make your decision.How to Know If It’s Time to GoBy Lawrence Birnbach, Ph.D & Beverly Hyman, Ph.D.Ann and Gary have two children. When Gary is home his major interest is watching sports TV. Ann longs to be more social with family and friends. She’d like to talk more with Gary. He says there is nothing much to talk about, and besides, she talks too much. Gary often criticizes Ann. He thinks Ann is too strict with their children. She thinks he’s uninvolved. Their lack of communication and closeness has spread to their sex life which is neither frequent nor enjoyable. She has lost respect for Gary, and feels he doesn’t treat her with respect. When Gary has aggravation at work, Ann no longer feels sympathetic. Ann feels the life has gone out of their marriage; it has become an empty shell. She may be right.

    Ann, like millions of married women, lies awake at night asking herself “Is this all I can expect out of life? Are we just going through a rough patch? Would I be happier if I divorced?” How does anyone having problems in their marriage, know if it’s time to go? Ending a marriage is one of life’s most difficult decisions. Before making it, a person should leave no stone unturned in trying to heal and bring life back to their marriage.Try to Fix ItOpen a dialogue: Ann needs to open a dialogue with Gary. She needs to be clear about  what she is troubled by.

    In our book, How to Know If It’s Time to Go, we offer a “Marriage Test,” a “Marriage Bill of Rights,” and “The Nine Areas,” these are the areas all couples must resolve differences in. With these tools Ann can identify where the strengths and weaknesses are in her marriage.Ann must impress Gary with how serious their situation is. Many times a spouse won’t take the other seriously until they believe that, if things don’t change, it will mean the end of the marriage. They need to have a two way discussion in which they each express their disappointments and wishes for their relationship. Each needs to understand that they have to take some responsibility for getting to this low point. It can’t just be a blame game. If they can’t start communicating with each other, there is little hope that the relationship can improve.

    Is It Time to Go Your Separate Ways?

    People fear the impact that separating will have on their children, their finances and themselves. Most of what they fear is not what happens for the vast majority of people, although life’s routines are disrupted during a transition period after separation.The facts: Here are facts that would be helpful for Ann, or anyone considering divorce, to know:75% of women remarry; 83% of men remarrymost children’s school performance and behavior improves within a couple of years of their parents’ unhappy marriage endingwithin a few years, most men’s and women’s standards of living rebound to approximately where they were prior to divorcemost divorced fathers live near their children, see them regularly, and reliably pay child supporttwo thirds of all divorces are initiated by women; the major reason women give for ending marriages is their husbands’ unwillingness to mature or changemost divorces are settled amicably, not in court.

    Dr. Lawrence Birnbach is a psychoanalyst who has specialized in working with individuals and couples in troubled relationships for the past 25 years. Dr. Beverly Hyman is an internationally known business and organizational consultant specializing in conflict management. Together, they have written HOW TO KNOW IF IT’S TIME TO GO: A 10-Step Reality Test For Your Marriage.

    Not Just The Kitchen

    July 12th, 2010

    Some men and women in troubled marriages convince themselves that they are doing the right thing by not causing open confrontation.

    By: Lawrence Birnbach, Ph.D. & Beverly Hyman, Ph.D.
    Troubled marriages make people sick. It may be your mental health that suffers, or it may be your physical health, or both, but, one way or another, troubled marriages make you sick. Research consistently proves that men and women in troubled marriages, and their children, suffer physical and mental ailments at a far higher rate than either the general population or people in happy marriages. Your family’s health suffers whether you and your mate argue openly, or you sweep your differences under the rug.
    Every couple argues sometimes. What’s injurious to people’s health is when the arguments are frequent, and, most important, remain unresolved. Some men and women in troubled marriages convince themselves that they are doing the right thing by not causing open confrontation. What they don’t realize is that years of stifling your real feelings and your own point of view take a toll. You and your whole family pay a price for your accepting disrespect from your spouse, and behaving with excessive self denial.
    That price is likely to be your physical and/or mental health. Here’s what research has proven about the connection between marital discord and
    family health:
    * After a couple argues wounds such as cuts take 40% longer to heal than normal.
    * Women who have critical husbands suffer increased frequency and severity of lower back pain, headaches and arthritis.
    * After a heart attack the likelihood of having a second one is twice as great among people in troubled marriages.
    * Men in unhappy marriages have weaker immune systems than men in happy marriages.
    * People in troubled marriages have a higher frequency of periodontal disease, high blood pressure, obesity, stomach ulcers, premature signs of aging, and type-2 diabetes.
    * Children and adults from families with troubled marriages suffer much greater frequency of colds, stomach aches, asthma, rashes, headaches, and diarrhea.
    * Children from families with troubled marriages exhibit more frequent behavior problems, poorer school performance, use more drugs and alcohol, and engage in sexual behavior at earlier ages than their peers from happy families.
    * People in unhappy marriages have more sleep problems, more depression, more anxiety, and more irritability.
    * People living in unhappy marriages have more frequent accidents, including automobile accidents.
    In How To Know If It’s Time to Go: A 10 Step Reality Test for Your Marriage, we provide a “Marriage Test” and a “Marriage Bill of Rights” as tools to help couples open a dialogue and diagnose what the areas of their disagreement are and how they can take actions to resolve them. So it’s very important for you and all the members of your family that you do a reality check on your marriage, figure out what needs to be resolved if there are problems, and take those steps.
    Your health depends on it.
    About the Authors:
    Dr. Lawrence Birnbach is a psychoanalyst who has specialized in working with individuals and couples in troubled relationships for the past 25 years. Dr. Beverly Hyman is an internationally known business and organizational consultant specializing in conflict management. Together, they have written How to Know if It’s Time to Go: A 10-Step Reality Test For Your Marriage.

    Transforming Your Marriage

    May 6th, 2010

    By Dr. Lawrence Birnbach and Dr. Beverly Hyman
    You feel stuck and blue. Your relationship is so far away from the great expectations you once had. You wonder if your mate feels the same but you’re afraid if you ask you’ll make things worse. You wonder “Can I make it better, or will I live in a zombie marriage that keeps stumbling forward forever?”
    You can take action to make it better. You need to start right now; it’s day one—the first of 30 days to transforming your relationship.

    Days One to Ten: Open the Dialogue
    In the first ten days you need to decide if this is a rough patch that the relationship is going through, or if things are seriously off track. There are nine areas couples must agree on. You’ll find this in our book: How to Know If It’s Time to Go: A 10 Step Reality Test for Your Marriage. They are:
    • money,
    • sex,
    • religion,
    • parenting,
    • relationships with extended family,
    • use of drugs and alcohol,
    • gender roles and household responsibilities,
    • career issues,
    • how you spend free time.
    When you decide which ones are your trouble spots, pick the least controversial one, not the toughest, and ask your mate how he feels about it. If he will talk about it, that’s great. If he won’t, you can still take action. If you have a reluctant partner, you must take action on your own or there can be no transformation. Don’t accept victimhood. You’re too valuable for that.
    For example, if you think your parenting is faltering and you get nowhere trying to talk about it, join a parenting group and get feedback from other parents. If you think your partner drinks too much, and you get nowhere talking to him, go to Alanon and talk with others whose partners drink too much. If you think your free time is a bore, make plans to do something you’d both like to do and invite your partner along. If he won’t go, invite a friend.

    Days Eleven to Twenty: Take Positive Action
    Too many marriages are only about responsibility and not about rights, privileges and fun. You and your mate are so busy paying bills, taking care of children, doing chores, and going to work, you forget you each have a right to affection. You forget you have a right to be treated with respect. Look at our Marriage Bill of Rights. Ask your partner which rights this marriage isn’t supplying for him. Listen, and let him know what you need also.
    See if the two of you can take one small step. For example, tonight go to bed at the same. You each need companionship. Invite your mate on a date. Get a friend to babysit.
    A marriage that’s off track needs both people to fix it. If your mate refuses to participate, you have a serious problem. Take The Marriage Test –
    a sample is available here and the full version is in our book. You’ll see where the problems are.
    Ask yourself what changes your partner has been repeatedly asking you to make. Make one. Has he asked you to lose weight? Has she asked you to be less harsh with the children? Do it to get a positive reaction.

    Days Twenty to Thirty: Evaluate the Direction
    Take stock. Are you getting anywhere? If things are going well, you’ve done a lot already. You’ve started making a long needed change your mate wanted. You’ve had a night or two out together. You’ve identified where the sticking points are. You’ve each tried to express something you long for. You’ve got a conversation going. Keep up the good work. It’s going to take plenty more effort, but the first thirty days are crucial.
    If you’re not getting anywhere, you can take other actions. Speak to a counselor or clergyman to get some guidance. Try to get your partner to go with you. If he won’t, you go alone. Let him know that you are going.
    Do something for yourself. Take a class, or join a gym, or a book club, a bowling league, anything that will make you feel good when you are acting independently. Feel the self esteem and freedom when you are with people who accept you and respect you. Not all marriages can or should be saved. This plan will help you to see whether yours can be.

    # # #

    Dr. Lawrence Birnbach is a psychoanalyst who specializes in working with individuals and couples in troubled relationships. He maintains private practices in New York City and Westport, Connecticut. Visit his website here. Dr. Beverly Hyman is an internationally known consultant specializing in conflict management. She is the chairman of the Dean’s Council at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
    If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

    Originally posted at first30days.com

    Forbes.com: Will Sandra Bullock Divorce Her Cheating Hubby? Don’t Bet On It

    March 26th, 2010

    Kiri Blakeley, 03.26.10, 02:00 PM EDT

    ForbesWoman

    Sandra Bullock is beautiful, smart, rich, talented and seems like a genuinely good person. It’s certainly baffling then that she’s been cheated on, especially since one of her husband Jesse James’ supposed–and most notorious–mistresses, Michelle McGee, is worlds away from the class act that is Bullock, who was raising James’ three children as her own. McGee, a tattoo model who has inked virtually every square inch of skin, even artfully posed for a photographer while licking a dagger and sporting a Nazi swastika armband.

    James’ wife is, of course, a newly minted Oscar winner who, in an ironic twist of timing worthy of a well-written movie script, had been tearfully gushing about her supportive hubby at awards ceremonies for weeks leading up to the discovery of the betrayal.

    TMZ and RadarOnline, among others in the peepshow media, are even reporting that James may be catching up to Tiger Woods in the quantity of affairs department, as a fourth alleged mistress crawls out of the chrome-cluttered recesses of James’ motorcycle body shop, which he seemed to use as much to tune up young biker models as to work on choppers.

    The public, naturally, is behind Team Sandra.

    “If you want to reconcile, Jesse, start by keeping your d*** in your pants! The same goes for Tiger and the rest of the infidels too!” is a typical public reaction, this one a post from Adrienne Smith on People.com.

    “Sandra deserves so much better. Kick that arsehole to the kerb,” says Plixxx on Perez Hilton.

    originally published at Forbes.com, Mar 26, 2010: Will Sandra Bullock Divorce Her Cheating Hubby? Don’t Bet On It

    9 questions every couple should ask themselves

    December 23rd, 2009

    Should you break up?

    By Lisa Murphy

    Ask yourself these nine questions before calling it quits

    You’re tired of the fighting, the coldness and unkindness. Should you end your relationship or marriage, or is there still a possibility–however remote—that it can be saved? Dr. Lawrence Birnbach and Dr. Beverly Hyman, co-authors of How To Know If It’s Time To Go: A 10 Step Reality Test for Your Marriage developed the following questions for the person who believes she has tried everything to improve their seriously troubled marriage, but has had absolutely no success. If you can answer yes to each of these questions, then you may have exhausted all of your options.

    Have I let my partner know how serious my level of discontent, is and that I am close to a breaking point, close to a divorce? You need to be completely honest, because there’s a lot to lose. “People become distant and angry because they hide their dissatisfaction, rather than bring it out in the open and try to work it out,” say Dr. Birnbach and Dr. Hyman.

    Have I tried self-improvement that would matter to my partner? Have I tried going along with some of my partner’s insistent requests of me? “Be the best person you can be in every way,” they say. “That includes being a compassionate human being and a forgiving one. If you want that from your mate, be willing to give it—first.”
    Have we tried spending more time with each other? Have we tried spending less time? If you’ve tried changing your day-to-day routine but it’s brought no positive changes in how you act with one another, that may be a sign that it’s better to part.

    Have I taken steps to improve our sex life, if that is an issue? “Sex and affection are a kind of glue in a marriage,” say Dr. Birnbach and Dr. Hyman. “Marriages that survive need to find their way back from the physical distance that the dissatisfaction and tension has created.”

    Have I tried getting a job to increase our income or to provide more stimulation in my life? Money, career and jobs are key issues that a couple has to have an agreement on in a satisfying relationship.

    Have I tried stepping down from my career track or adjusting my ambitions? If your relationship comes second to your career, this may be a problem that cannot be fixed.

    Have I talked to family and friends who are likely to be objective and neutral to get their perspective? People who know you both might have some refreshing observations about what you can do to fix your relationship challenges. If this exercise doesn’t offer any insight or new hope, however, that may indicate that it’s time to part.

    Have we tried couples counseling? Have I tried individual counseling? Ideally, you should pursue counseling as a couple or alone for at least a year. “You can’t rescue a marriage all by yourself,” say Dr. Birnbach and Dr. Hyman. Professional counseling can provide relationship guidance and a neutral referee.

    Have we tried a trial separation as an almost last resort? This can give you a good perspective on what life will be like without your partner—and it may not be so bad. “Don’t let yourself be taken in by the myths about divorce,” they say. “For example, lots of people fear that if they do end their marriage they will never have another mate.” Yet 83 percent of men and and 75 percent of women who divorce remarry. When you do enter into a new relationship, just be sure to look for—and offer—qualities that will ensure its success, such as responsibility, honesty, respect, and loyalty.

    Originally published at Sympatico (Website) ( Canada )—> http://lifestyle.sympatico.ca/Relationships/should_your_break_up.htm?pagenumber=1

    Top Rocky Romance Moments

    December 23rd, 2009

    Top Rocky Romance Moments

    By Lisa Murphy

    How to handle the trickiest relationship challenges

    Whether it’s the birth of a new baby or the death of a business, there are certain key moments that can try the relationship of even the most committed couple. “Psychologists who study marriage have identified nine areas that every couple have to work out agreements in to have a satisfying marriage,” say Dr. Lawrence Birnbach and Dr. Beverly Hyman, co-authors of How To Know If It’s Time To Go: A 10 Step Reality Test for Your Marriage. “They are money, sex, parenting, relationships with extended family and friends, religion, household responsibilities and gender roles, drug or alcohol use, how to spend leisure time, career and job-related issues.” No relationship is perfect, of course, but dealing with serious disagreements in more than one or two of these areas can really make life tough. Here’s how to deal with some of the most difficult issues.

    Moving in together. “You’ve got two people with different upbringings, trying to create a new life where they both have space,” says Kim Busch, a provisional registered psychologist with the Calgary Counselling Centre. To manage this successfully, she says, you have to let go of your preconceived ideas and create a unique home as a couple.

    Financial troubles. “A huge percentage of couples do not track how they spend their money or have a budget,” says Dr. Jan Hoistad, a licensed psychologist and author of Romance Rehab: 10 Steps to Rescue Your Relationship. “Another difficulty is deciding who should pay the bills and keep the money records for the household, which can lead to only one person being fully informed, or taking turns but not having a mutually agreed upon joint system.” Head this off by working with a financial counsellor, setting up a budget and confirming who will do what in terms of your finances.

    Buying a new house. This causes stress, and the couple can revert to bad habits or patterns that may be destructive to the relationship, says Busch. “Remembering where the stress originates can be helpful.”

    Experiencing a job loss or business failure. “It’s devastating to a marriage when one or both partners lose their job, or take a serious drop in income,” say Dr. Birnbach and Dr. Hyman. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) recommends that the unemployed person should establish a daily routine and goals that include job searching, get employment counselling and try volunteering.

    Having children. “Children are a joy but also a major stressor,” says Busch. Ensuring that both partners are equally involved in daily parenting, and taking time out to reconnect as a couple will help maintain emotional intimacy.
    Retiring. This can create a real identity crisis and trouble within a relationship, especially if the retirement was forced. Reaching out to old friends, volunteering and renewing old hobbies and interests, as the CMHA suggests, can keep the retiree busy and your relationship on an even keel.

    If one of these issues crops up in your relationship, don’t wait to tackle the issue head on as a couple. “When a couple has trouble working out their issue in one major area, it can start a cascade of troubles, uncovering disagreements in many others,” says Dr. Birnbach. “One patient, for example, was so frustrated with his wife’s inability to live within their financial means that he began to abuse alcohol. His wife retaliated by withholding sex. It’s a downward spiral.” Instead, prioritize your relationship and be proactive to help you keep your partnership strong.

    Originally published at Sympatico (Website) (Dec. 23rd, 2009) ( Canada )—>
    http://lifestyle.sympatico.ca/Relationships/top_relationship_challenges.htm

    7 (Surprising!) Secrets to Lasting Love

    December 22nd, 2009

    7 (Surprising!) Secrets For Lasting Love

    By Lisa Murphy

    We polled relationship-advice experts for tips on avoiding breakups and divorce

    We all imagine that we’re in, or just about to find, that happily-ever-after, fairy-tale forever relationship. But with so many people divorced or in unhappy partnerships, clearly statistics don’t bear that out for the majority. In fact, it’s perhaps surprising how many people stay together given the differences that most of us have even as we begin our relationships! “Men and women enter marriage with different expectations, and that’s a very big part of the problem,” say Dr. Lawrence Birnbach and Dr. Beverly Hyman, co-authors of How To Know If It’s Time To Go: A 10 Step Reality Test for Your Marriage. “Men describe that they get married for ‘sex, home and children’, while women say they marry for ‘relationship, companionship and romance.'”

    Given those differences, it makes sense that many relationships don’t necessarily falter as a result of infidelity or abuse, but more often stem from irreconcilable values, inflexibility, immaturity or squabbles over money. “Chemistry, timing, and common interests may bring couples together, but they do not guarantee long-term success,” adds Dr. Jan Hoistad, a licensed psychologist and author of Romance Rehab: 10 Steps to Rescue Your Relationship. “At some point, all couples stumble upon differences that lead to conflict.” That said, knowing what some of those common challenges are and how to overcome them can put you and your partner ahead of the game. So, read on to discover some intriguing ways to keep your romance strong over the long haul.

    1. Wash the floor. It sounds ridiculously simplistic, but resentment over housework is one of the top-five relationship challenges that Dr. Hoistad sees in her work with clients. “One spouse may do most of the household chores and the other participates minimally–and this can occur whether or not both partners work outside the home.” If you’re not willing to do housework yourself, pony up and pay for a cleaning service, because this really can become a deal breaker. In fact, research shows that men’s risk of divorce decreases with every extra hour of housework that they do.

    2. Learn from that old couple next door. “Many couples marry without an image—or picture of what a good marriage actually looks like,” explains Elizabeth E. George, a relationship expert and co-author of The Compatibility Code: An Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Dating and Marriage. Today, only a minority of marriages can be classed as successful or exceptional. “Therefore, watch for couples you know who seem to have strong marriages, spend time with them, and read material together on successful relationships,” she says.

    3. Admit that parenting isn’t easy. “I see a lot of couples who disagree over how to discipline children or who have different values surrounding homework, after school activities or sports involvement,” says Dr. Hoistad. “Those who have a child challenged with a disruptive behavioral problem often end up fighting between themselves and blaming one another, too.” As the saying goes, kids don’t come with a manual. Show how much you care by being brave enough to take a parenting class or take advantage of parental support services in your community.

    4. Redefine what it means to be “in love”. Our culture has taught us to believe that the giddiness of falling in love will last a lifetime, when research shows it typically lasts only about two years, says George. Long-term love requires commitment–in terms of improving yourself, improving as a couple by reading, vacationing or doing counseling together, and building a shared purpose or passion strong enough offsets everyday irritations, she adds.

    5. Kiss and hug each other. A lot. As couple’s lives get busier and busier, expressions of affection like hugs, kisses and appreciations often become scarce, says Dr. Hoistad. All of the physical distance and time apart leads to either withdrawal and disengagement, or blaming and fighting. “It becomes exponentially worse if only one partner expresses a need for more connection,” she says. Same goes for sex: if you’re not doing it, start working on it or seek counseling.

    6. Create a bill of rights. Articulating what you expect and hope to offer to your partner is a great first step to a successful long-term relationship, as well as important rite of passage for a couple that’s in trouble, say Dr. Birnbach and Dr. Hyman. They recommend creating a “Marriage Bill of Rights” that outlines the right to loyalty, protection, affection, help with tasks, caregiving, support, companionship, respect, honest communication and some freedom to pursue your own interests. Although giving all of these things through thick and thin may not always be easy, they are necessary ingredients in any lasting love. “As Scott Peck, the author of The Road Less Traveled says, ‘love is a discipline,’ adds Dr. Hoistad.

    7. Be a better person. “To sustain love, look at yourself and work on yourself,” says Dr. Birnbach. “Be the best person you can be in every way. That includes being a compassionate human being and a forgiving one. If you want that from your mate, be willing to give it—first.”

    Originally published at Sympatico (Website) (Dec. 22nd, 2009) ( Canada )—> http://lifestyle.sympatico.ca/Relationships/secrets_to_lasting_love.htm?paginationenabled=false

    Contemplating Divorce at the Holidays

    December 22nd, 2009

    posted by Wendy Strgar Dec 22, 2009 7:01 am

    filed under: Ask the Loveologist, Guidance, Health & Wellness, Love & Relationships, Relationships & Sexuality,
    Ask the Loveologist: Contemplating Divorce at the Holidays

    Q: I have been questioning whether I should stay in my marriage for months now and with the holidays coming and all of the family visits that we will be making, I am afraid that my doubts will be visible. Even though we don’t discuss it, I am sure that my husband has some idea that I am wandering away from our relationship. I don’t really know what I want or what to do or say. I know that keeping silent is helping either. Do I just put on a happy holiday face or risk talking about my feelings?

    A: Your question about the viability of your marriage is one that is shared by millions of people and is felt acutely at this holiday time of year. The issues that bring them to the brink of doubt and the stories that they generate are as unique to the people involved as they are universal to most relationships. Although you don’t mention the source of your discontent, the majority of marriage dissatisfaction issues originate and revolve around money, sex, and family relationships–both extended family and parenting.

    Regardless of the initial issue that damages the marriage bonds, the qualities and behaviors that define an unhealthy marriage are universal. As partners become alienated from one another they stop making an effort to listen or be heard. This dying communication instigates both a lack of empathy and a place where positions and beliefs harden. Fewer and fewer small concerns are resolved and stack up in the relationship and inevitably, the balance of power in the relationship can never quite find center. Aggressive and passive aggressive behaviors whether in sarcastic joking or outright paybacks make the day to day feel unsafe. The partnership becomes a battleground and proving the other wrong is as good as feeling right.

    It is remarkable how quickly relationships can degenerate into this dynamic. Often it starts with a single issue or experience that neither person has the language or comfort to discuss. Things withheld and repressed take on a life of their own and issues not brought to light, get darker through neglect. Communication is the currency of relationships. What we don’t say often impacts our relationships more powerfully than what we say.

    Most people don’t grow up with many good models or even learning much about the social or emotional intelligence that healthy relationships require. Often without even seeing it happen, couples fall into a win/lose model of relating, believing that being right is more important than being together. The truth is that marriages and relationships in general, are either win/win or lose/lose. If either person is made to lose, the entire relationship suffers and usually loses. Healthy marriages are different from unhealthy ones in this one essential way- in a satisfying marriage, the couple is united against adversity and they don’t go out of their way to create it between them. Happy unions, true friendships all share in that singular truth.

    Although I don’t know if your wandering has brought you close to and confiding in “someone else,” which is another remarkably common reason sited in divorce statistics, I would urge you to give your marriage the respect and authenticity of true communication. Whether you conclude that you are just going through a hard patch or that the marriage is too unhealthy to redeem, you will not regret giving it the discussion and intention to figure it out.

    A great resource for this work is a new book coming out shortly called How to Know if it’s Time to Go by Dr. Lawrence Birnbach and Dr. Beverly Hyman. Their topic knowledge, having first hand experience and thorough research offer a sound model to think through the complex and challenging decision of what to do with your relationship. While they don’t advocate for either side, they do dispel many of the myths about divorce and encourage an articulate inquiry to answer the questions for yourself.

    Wendy Strgar, owner of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love and family. Wendy helps couples tackle the questions and concerns of intimacy and relationships, providing honest answers and innovative advice. Wendy lives in Eugene, Oregon with her husband, a psychiatrist, and their four children ages 11-20.

    Originally published at Care2 (Blog) (Dec. 22nd, 2009)—> http://www.care2.com/greenliving/divorce-at-the-holidays.html

    Thinking about Divorce?

    December 17th, 2009

    Should stay or should I divorce?  For the millions of couples trapped in unhappy marriages this is the question that haunts them.  Consumed by sadness, anger, and fear, they struggle to determine if their relationship is worth keeping or if it has hit the breaking point.

    Authors of the book, “How To Know If It Is Time To Go”(March 2010) identify what they call “zombie marriages”(Sterling Publishing).  Dr. Lawrence Birnbach and Dr. Beverley Hyman are both psychologists, marital experts and a husband and wife writing team.  They have established a 10-step reality test for your marriage and point out that sometimes divorce is healthier than staying in an unhappy marriage.  A happy, long term marriage may simply not be possible in some cases.  “How To Know If It Is Time To Go” discusses the lives of people who stay in chronically unhappy marriages compared to those who decide to split. It provides readers with a unique Marriage Bill of Rights and a 100 Question Marriage Test to determine if its “time to go”.  They dispel the myth about divorce and enable readers to recognize if there’s still hope or if they’re better off apart.

    HappierCouples.com is a website aimed at ‘keeping’ couples together. Another husband and wife team,  Jeff Ullman  and his wife Cindy Ullman, launched the website after aggressively working on it for the three years.  They wanted to deliver something entirely new to the couples’ space: the Internet’s first-ever, all-inclusive relationship empowerment destination and couples lifestyle concierge.

    In the 80s and 90s, Jeff Ullman was profiled on Oprah, 48 Hours, CNN, Newsweek, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Entrepreneur and countless other outlets as the most prominent matchmaker of his time.  He founded what became the world’s first and largest international video-dating service, Great Expectations, the dominant dating brand of the late 20th Century and predecessor to the many popular Internet dating services of today.

    As the holiday season delivers a cornucopia of relationship challenges, HappierCouples.com debuts to educate, empower and provide couples with unparalleled access to the long-overdue tools and services necessary to breathe new life back into their partnership, re-routing them on the pathway to ‘happier ever after’. Delivering the first-ever multi-platform ‘Freemium Membership’ website catering to the virtually-untapped couples market, HappierCouples.com provides unrivaled access to over 1,000 hours of custom-produced relationship videos from the most sought-after experts on the planet; the world’s largest customized list of fun things for couples to do in their own hometown; discounted access to local lifestyle enhancements; and so much more. Each membership, offered at reduced rates for the holiday season and allowing both parties to mutually exercise and enjoy the benefits of the site, is available at three levels: Happy (free); Happier ($19.95/month); and Ecstatic ($99.95/year).

    Co-founder and partner,  Cindy Ullman understands the highs and lows involved in any long term marriage. “Throughout our 16-year relationship, Jeff and I have experienced many of the roller coaster highs and lows that couples face. Raising six children, and having suffered through financial setbacks and the loss of loved ones, we’ve been through all of the major stressors that countless couples deal with.  But we understand that true happiness starts with a commitment to each other that can be sustained through ongoing daily devotion, calendaring quality time together, and by doing the little things that matter to one another and that make all the difference. HappierCouples.com was born from our needs as a couple, our personal and professional observations of relationship hazards, and our own desire to find a socially responsible way to help other couples achieve happier lives together.”

    To meet the needs of today’s ‘instant gratification’ appetites, HappierCouples.com presents powerful, customized, personalized and instantaneous relationship insights and solutions, allowing couples to holistically reinvigorate their partnership.

    * Get immediate expert answers: Ask questions and receive immediate expert responses in a fraction of the time, cost and energy it would take you to obtain conventional methods.

    * Energize your social life: Collects and remembers each spouse’s entertainment, dining and travel favorites, minimizing the effort involved in “remembering how to” have fun. Your husband can easily review and select your favorites with confidence that your date will be heartily-enjoyed and treasured.

    * Have more free time together: Locates childcare for an evening out with your wife; pet, plant or house care for spur-of-the moment weekends; errand runners, etc.; while advanced search methods and mobile apps reduce stress.

    * Remember all important occasions and make little moments special: The Couples Calendar, Personal Reminders and Gift Concierge coordinate family, personal and business responsibilities via text message alerts so you avoid problems, know exactly which presents will thrill your spouse and know when/where your presence is needed.

    * Save money: Discount Privileges can easily save you and yours $100s a month in everyday expenditures at major retailers the likes of Macy’s, Starbucks, Neiman Marcus, Banana Republic, Radio Shack and many others.

    * Get your money back if you do not find happiness: The 100% Happiness Guarantee ensures your relationship bliss after one year and one day, or you get a full, cash reimbursement.

    Originally published at Examiner.com (Website)—> http://www.examiner.com/x-9911-SF-Relationship-Matchmaking-Examiner~y2009m12d17-Thinking-about-Divorce

    Crazed Mind: Holidays and Mixed Families

    December 15th, 2009

    If your not aware I am like so many others. I have been married and divorced and married……….and now I have a mixed family. With that is always new lessons to learn on how to exist in these families with harmony. I feel quite lucky that my ex and I sat down and talked on how to have a friendly divorce. We knew we would always be our daughter’s parents and would have to be part of each others lives after our divorce. And we have made it work out with little fuss.

    So how did we get there? Well, first we wasted a long time. Staying married 15 years when our marriage was over in the first 5 years. I would have liked to have read “How to Know if it’s Time to Go-A 10-Step Reality Test for Your Marriage“. Now I know that we all wish to keep our marriage healthy. I wanted to do the very same thing. But instead wasted 10 years of mine and my ex’s life. And drug our sweet daughter through those trying times. Sometimes we just have to face reality.

    What I do like about this book is that it addresses your children’s issues. Making it a fact that there needs to be healthy relationships between the separated parents and future families. So you need to deal with how a healthy divorce works compared to an unhealthy marriage. (I know having been there.) And helping your child or children with school, family, friends, self esteem and all the issues that come up. I feel quiet lucky that we took a logical look at our future. Now having been divorced over 7 years we can still visit each other with our College Girl. And even better yet, College Girl now has her (half) lil sister to share her life with. The two families often share meals, holidays and even for a short while a home together.

    I would like to thank Sterling Publishing Company for sharing “How to Know if it’s Time to Go“. And would highly recommend it as a tool to help when you need to take a reality check of your marriage. You will most likely find that your marriage is in better shape than you thought. And that life can be improved through communication and maybe counseling.

    originally published at Crazed Mind (Blog)