Secrets Your Mom NEVER Told You About Love, Marriage, & Money

By Evelyn Cole

1. The honeymoon was over before it began. Cousin Joe came to your parents’ wedding reception drunk, made a speech about the bride and her old boyfriend, infuriating your father. His father kicked Joe in the shins. Joe howled with rage. The best man dragged him outside and your mother spilled red wine on her $1000.00 wedding gown.

2. The reception cost $10,000.00. Your mother’s parents put up $2,000. That’s all they could afford. Your Dad’s parents didn’t put up any money but they gave them $500 for the honeymoon.

3. The honeymoon cost $6,000.00 and it rained the whole week.

4. Your parents spent the first ten years of their marriage paying off their wedding. That’s why they waited so long to have you. Those years weren’t a whole lot of fun.

That’s one story. There are too many like it.

The point: our culture builds fantastic illusions about weddings. We spend far too much on them and often suffer great disappointment.

I want to spare you that disappointment.

I want you to experience the joy of everyday love and laughter from an inexpensive wedding, with friends you don’t need to impress, in a marriage that lasts because it’s based on reality, not illusion and hype.

I write from bitter experience. I married twice for the wrong reasons. When I finally learned to live alone, support myself, find my own strength, my own values, I married again for the right reasons. What a relief. What a joy.

So be careful when you read those bridal magazines and honeymoon ads. Broken illusions are not only painful, they’re expensive!

And besides, after the honeymoon you have to know how to keep love alive.

Remember when you first fell in love? Glorious, wasn’t it.

I’m sure you know why the phrase is “fall in love” not “step in love” or “crawl in love”. You fall, “head over heels”.

There is nothing rational about sexual love. It’s called “blind love” because the frontal lobes of the brain are not involved at all.

But where does that great love go? And it does go.

The romantic phase of a relationship is blind. When the blinders wear off you begin to see each others as individuals. You begin to compete, like siblings. If you grew up with a brother or sister close to your age, you know how to fight and get over it. But, If you didn’t have a close sibling, you don’t know how–and your spouse does!

Then, when the fighting starts the love dies hard, unless . . .

you both decide to keep it alive,

not the crazy “in love”

but a conscious, willing exploration of your own subconscious mind, and an open sharing of your discoveries.

For example, one man told me that he doesn’t like to French kiss. He said it gave him “the willies”. His wife was terribly hurt. She felt rejected by him. He loved her every other way, but his tongue embarrassed him.

In writing about his tongue he uncovered the source of his embarrassment and spit it out for good.

Another way to keep love alive involves recognizing the role of projection in everyday life. Everyone projects his feelings about himself onto others at some time. If I think I am clumsy today, I notice how clumsy everyone is. If I feel fat, I notice everyone else’s fat. If I feel good, I notice how pleasant everyone is today.

We tend to project our self-criticism onto the ones we love, killing love. Recognizing self-criticism will keep love alive.

Recognizing the source of your attitudes toward and habits with money will save many a fight.

Since love is more important than vitamins for good health, make sure you keep it alive.

As long as you keep uncovering your whole mind and sharing it with your lover, you will keep love alive and live long and wealthily.

Besides, the hidden advantage of using your whole mind with your lover is laughter, and that really keeps love alive.

 Evelyn Cole, MA, MFA, The Whole-mind Writer:  Cole’s chief aim in life is to convince everyone to understand the power of the subconscious mind and synchronize it with goals of the conscious mind. Along with “Mind Nudges” and “Brainsweep”, she has published three novels and several poems that dramatize subconscious power.
http://www.write-for-wealth.com evycole@direcway.com

Marriage…Do You Have What It Takes?

By Neysa Ellery Taylor

I love wedding shows. I really do. I love looking at the dresses and seeing how people illustrate their love. From Say Yes To The Dress to Four Weddings, I really enjoy watching these shows. But they are just entertainment that tell you how to prepare for a wedding. There are no shows that tell you how to be married. I think that is where we do marriages a disservice. They show the fun highlights but don’t give anyone tools to endure marriage.

“Endure” sounds so apocalyptic doesn’t it? But let’s be honest – it’s not all roses. There are wonderful highs and some amazing lows. It takes a special kind of person to be able to weather all that comes with marriage. So do you have what it takes to be a spouse?

Can you open up and share yourself with another person? Sounds minor right? But it is true. Are you able to share all of yourself with your partner? Not just your PR agent that everyone meets, but the core of who you are? The reason this is so important is how can you ever accept someone fully if they’ve never seen you fully? You can’t.

Can you pursue God’s will for your life? Are you really ready to walk into all that God has placed in you? See, God placed all that vision in your life not for your own benefit but for the benefit of the kingdom. That kingdom starts with a little village – your family. So are you ready to go get it so that the blessings will pour down on your family?

Can you say no to temptation? Do I really need to say more? But can you resist all the tail that will be thrown at you the minute you say “I do”? What? You thought the ring was a booty repellent? Puh-lease! The ring is a magnet for booty. The ring increases your net worth. The ring says that somebody in this world thinks that you are so special that you were worth putting a ring on. That alone sets you apart from the rest. So can you say “no” to that?

Can you put the good of your spouse and family before everything else (except God)? Before your boys, before the sorority, before your church commitments, sometimes before your job… Can your immediate family come first?

Ladies: Can you keep a clean house? I know that is a generalization, but really in at least 8 out of 10 households the majority of housekeeping falls on a woman’s shoulders. That doesn’t mean that the men don’t contribute, they do. But the MAJORITY of the housework will fall on you. Is your house dirty? Not cluttered. Cluttered in a nuisance but it can be picked up. Is your house nasty? Because if is nasty with you living by yourself, then it will nastier when you have a spouse and kids.

Men: Do you have maintenance skills? Yep, another generalization. But in my informal survey – which is mainly just my friends – the majority of maintenance jobs are on the husband’s plate. Can you fix an overflowing toilet? Can you paint a wall? Can you find your way around a wrench? Is the lawnmower your friend? And if you answer no to all of the above questions, do you at least have the initiative to call someone to fix a problem?

And there are many more questions: Can you keep it hot in the bedroom? Can you forgive? Can you take care of someone at their worst and cheer for someone at their best? Can you celebrate your spouse’s success without being jealous? Can you love?

Neysa Ellery Taylor is an integral part of the writing team here at Blackloveandmarriage.com. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Chris, and their 4 children – Asyen, Maya, Preston, and Patrick. An Emmy-Award winning journalist, she hopes to share her passion for marriage and God through her writing. You can read more of her work at Myriadthatisme.blogspot.com

63 Interesting Facts About Marriage

By Team BLAM

Every now and then we come across an article that is both light-hearted and informative enough to be posted.  When we read this piece we both were like “what…i didn’t know that”.  Some of you academicians may know more than others about the 63 things on this list but I’m willing to bet (pinky bet that is..lol) that there’s something in here that will probably have you saying hmmmmm.

*Note* This was initially published on randomhistory.com in 2009 and we found it interesting enough to still repost today.

63 Interesting Facts About Marriage. . .

The term “marriage” derives from the Latin word mas meaning “male” or “masculine.” The earliest known use of the word in English dates from the thirteenth century.

Due to jobs, kids, TV, the Internet, hobbies, and home and family responsibilities, the average married couple spends just four minutes a day alone together.

The Talmud is very strict about banning extramarital sex—but also enforcing marital sex. The Talmud even lays out a timetable for how often husbands should “rejoice” their wives. For men of independent means, every day; for laborers, twice a week; for ass-drivers, once a week; for camel-drivers, once in 30 days; and for sailors, once in six months.

Over 75% of people who marry partners from an affair eventually divorce.

The Oneida colony established in New York in 1848 advocated “complex” or group marriage in which every woman was married to every man. They also practiced “scientific breeding” where parents where matched by a committee according to physical and mental health.

Traditionally, bridesmaids would be dressed in similar bride-like gowns to confuse rival suitors, evil spirits, and robbers.

Marrying younger than age 25 dramatically raises the divorce risk. Also, the divorce risk is higher when the woman is much older than the man, though the reverse isn’t as a strong factor.

On average, married couples have sex 58 times per year

The average married couple has sex 58 times per year, or slightly more than once a week.

At Italian weddings, it is not unusual for both the bride and groom to break a glass. The number of shards will be equal to the number of happy years the couple will have.

The word “wife” is likely from the Proto-Indo-European root weip (“to turn, twist, wrap”) or ghwibh, which has a root meaning “shame” or “pudenda.”

The word “husband” is from the Old Norse husbondi or “master of the house” (literally, hus “house” + bondi “householder, dweller”).

Some scholars trace the word “bride” to the Proto-Indo-European root bru, “to cook, brew, make broth.”

The term “groom” is from the Old English guma, meaning “man.”

In three states—Arkansas, Utah, and Oklahoma—women tend to marry younger, at an average age of 24. Men’s average age is 26. In the northeastern states of New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, men and women wait about four years longer to marry. The U.S. average age for women is 25.6 and for men, 27.7.

A person’s level of education influences the age at which they marry. Couples tend to marry later in states with higher numbers of college-educated adults, while the opposite is true for states with lower education levels.

Nevada, Maine, and Oklahoma have the highest percentage of divorced adults. Arkansas and Oklahoma have the highest rates of people who have been married at least three times.

The probability of a first marriage ending in a divorce within 5 years is 20%, but the probability of a premarital cohabitation breaking up within 5 years is 49%. After 10 years, the probability of a first marriage ending is 33%, compared with 62% for cohabitations.

Hammurabi’s Code (ca. 1790 B.C.), an ancient Babylonian law code, contains some of the oldest known and recorded marriage laws. These early laws defined marriage as a contract that paradoxically served to protect women and restrict them. According to the Code, a man could divorce his wife if she could not bear children or of she was a “gadabout” who humiliated her husband in public and neglected her house. Additionally, she could be “pitched” in a river if she committed adultery.

Washington, D.C., has the lowest marriage rate in the nation.

Approximately $6 billion in revenue is lost by American businesses as a result of decreased worker productivity linked to marriage hardship. Employees in a happy marriage, in contrast, tend to increase a company’s bottom line.

The Great Recession has been one of the greatest strains on marriage in decades.

CNN reports that the current economy is the biggest stress on married couples in the past 60 years.

A New Woman’s Day and AOL Living poll found that 72% of women surveyed have considered leaving their husbands at some point.

Married couples tend to have fatter waistlines, which can lead to a decrease in sexual attraction and general health. Additionally, a spouse’s chances of becoming obese increase by 37% if his or her partner is obese.

A 2008 study found that marital satisfaction improves once children leave home. However, if marital problems existed before, an empty nest often reveals those otherwise masked issues.

People whose marriage has broken down at the time they are diagnosed with cancer do not live as long as cancer patients who are widowed, have strong marriages, or who have never been married.

In ancient Greece, Solon (638-538 B.C.) once contemplated making marriage compulsory, and in Athens under Pericles (495-429 B.C.), bachelors were excluded from certain public positions. In Sparta, single and childless men were treated with scorn. In ancient Rome, Augustus (63 B.C.-A.D. 14) passed drastic laws compelling people to marry and penalized those who remained single.

A marriage ceremony typically ends with a kiss because in ancient Rome, a kiss was a legal bond that sealed contracts, and marriage was seen as a contract.

Adults who are childhood cancer survivors are 20-25% less likely to marry compared with their siblings and the general American population.

Stress associated with divorce affects the body’s immune system and its ability to fend off the disease. The health benefits of remarriage are reduced the second and third times around.

Throughout most of history, marriage was not necessarily based on mutual love, but an institution devoted to acquiring in-laws and property and to provide the family additional labor forces (by having children).

A white New Orleans man in the late nineteenth century transfused himself with blood from a black woman he loved so he could overcome anti-discrimination laws by claiming he was black and marry her.

One nineteenth-century New York legislator insisted that letting married women own their own property attacked both God and Nature.

A low or no sex marriage has a high probability of separation or divorce within 12 months.

Just two years after marriage, an estimated 20% of couples make love fewer than 10 times in a year.

One in three American marriages is “low sex” or “no sex.”

The number of marriage therapists in the United States has increased 50-fold between 1970 and 1990.

In the United States, over 50% of first marriages end in divorce, 67% of second marriages end in divorce, and nearly 74% of third marriages end in divorce.

Marriage does more to promote life satisfaction than money, sex, or even children, say Wake Forest University psychologists.

Compared to singles, married people accumulate about four times more savings and assets. Those who divorced had assets 77% lower than singles.

Married elderly people are more likely to maintain daily health-promoting habits, such as exercising, not smoking, eating breakfast, and having regular medical check-ups.

More than friendship, laughter, forgiveness, compatiblility, and sex, spouses name trust as the element crucial for a happy marriage.

Eighty-one percent of happily married couples said their partner’s friends and family rarely interfered with the relationship, compared to just 38% of unhappy couples.

Eighty-five percent of couples have had premarital sex.

Nearly 60 percent of couples have had an affair, with most affairs occurring within the 25-39 age bracket

Nearly 60% of married adults have had at least one affair.

The cost of an average wedding is $20,000. The cost of an average divorce is $20,000.

Words form only 7% of our communication with anyone, including spouses. Tone of voice accounts for 38% and body language is responsible for 55% of the messages spouses receive from each other.

Women who report a fair division of housework were happier in their marriages than women who thought their husbands didn’t do their fair share. Wives also spent more quality time with their husbands when they thought the housework was divided fairly.

A 15-year-long study found that a person’s happiness level before marriage was the best predictor of happiness after marriage. In other words, marriage won’t automatically make one happy.

Researchers found a huge decline in happiness four years into a marriage with another decline in years seven to eight. In fact, half of all divorces occur in the first seven years of marriage, which gives rise to the popular term “the seven-year itch.”

More than two in five Catholics marry outside their church, twice as many as in the 1960s. There are at least one million Jewish-Christian marriages in the U.S. Two in five Muslims in America have chosen non-Muslim spouses.

Married people are twice as likely to go to church as unmarried people.

Half of emotional affairs become sexual affairs.

While couples with children are less likely to divorce than childless couples, the arrival of a new baby is more likely to bring more stress and emotional distance than new happiness. Nearly 90% of couples experienced decrease in martial satisfaction after the birth of their first child.

Over 40% of married couples in the U.S. include at least one spouse who has been married before. As many as 60% of divorced women and men will marry again, many within just five years.

Birth order is an important factor in determining the success of a marriage.

Birth order can influence whether a marriage succeeds or fails. The most successful marriages are those where the oldest sister of brothers marries the youngest brother of sisters. Two firstborns, however, tend to be more aggressive and can create higher levels of tension. The highest divorce rates are when an only child marries another only child.

The number of men and women age 65 and older cohabiting outside of marriage nearly doubled between 1990 and 2000.

Because Virginia law required an ex-slave to leave the state once freed, one freed woman petitioned the legislature in 1815 to become a slave again so she could stay married to her still-enslaved husband.

For many centuries, the Catholic Church argued that contraception was a sin and made the wife no better “than a harlot.” Up until 1930, many Protestant churches agreed.

One seventeenth-century Massachusetts husband was put in stocks alongside his adulterous wife and her lover because the community reasoned she wouldn’t have strayed if her husband had been fulfilling is marital obligations.

Research points to certain characteristics that are most often linked to infidelity, such as being raised in a family where having affairs is considered normal, having a personality that values excitement and risk taking over marital stability, having coworkers and friends who believe affairs are acceptable, and feeling emotionally distant from one’s spouse.

No sex in a marriage has a much more powerful negative impact on a marriage than good sex has a positive impact.

Modern Western marriage traditions have long been shaped by Roman, Hebrew, and Germanic cultures as well as by doctrines and traditions of the Medieval Christian church, the Protestant Reformation, and the Industrial Revolution.

Levirate marriage, where a man is obligated to marry his brother’s widow if she had no sons to care for her, is sometimes required in the Bible (as in Deuteronomy) and sometimes prohibited (as in Leviticus).

The first recorded mention of same-sex marriage occurs in Ancient Rome and seems to have occurred without too much debate until Christianity became the official religion. In 1989, Denmark was the first post-Christianity nation to legally recognize same-sex marriage.

— Posted November 18, 2009

References

a Boswell, John. 1995. Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe. New York, NY: Random House.

b Bride’s Book of Etiquette. 2002. New York, NY: Perigee Books.

c Connolly, Katie. “Why So Few D.C. Residents Are Married.” Newsweek.com. October 20, 2009. Accessed: October 28, 2009.

d Gottman, John M. and Julie Schwartz Gottman. 2006. 10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.

e Graff, E.J. 1999. What Is Marriage For: The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

f “Groom.” Online Etymological Dictionary. Accessed: October 27, 2009.

g Harrar, Sari and Rita DeMaria. 2007. The 7 Stages of Marriage: Laughter, Intimacy, and Passion. Pleasantville, NY: Reader’s Digest Books.

h Hein, Holly. Sexual Detours: Infidelity and Intimacy at the Crossroads. 2000. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

i “Husband.” Online Etymological Dictionary. Accessed: October 27, 2009.

j Mannes, George. “Is the Economy Ruining Your Marriage?” CNN.com. August 21, 2009. Accessed: October 27, 2009.

k Moore, Matthew. “Divorce Damages Your Health—and Getting Remarried Barely Helps.” Telegraph.co.uk. July 27, 2009. Accessed: October 28, 2009.

l Neal, Rome. “Signs of Divorce Ahead?: New Study Tries to Predict Which Marriages Will Last.” CBSNEWS.com. August 7, 2002. Accessed: October 29, 2009.

m Squire, Susan. 2008. I Don’t: A Contrarian History of Marriage. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Press.

n “Where You Live May Affect When You Get Married.” CNN.com. October 20, 2009. Accessed: October 28, 2009.

o “Wife.” Online Etymological Dictionary. Accessed: October 27, 2009.

10 Situations Where Men And Women Differ So Much!

By Jeff Cuckson

One basic fact of life. Women and men are different. I am not talking about their physical attributes, but in their attitudes to relationships.

I am a man, writing this article. I have tried to be fair, but can I tell you ladies, I just can’t understand you most of the time. But I am sure that most of you would answer, that you can’t understand us men.

I have been guilty of most of the attitudes listed, especially the shopping which I hate. Therefore to go a little way in imparting some understanding, here are 10 situations where the thinking of men and women go in opposite directions;

  1. ANGER: When Anger or another problem enters a relationship A woman will want to repair the situation or problem before any sex.A man will think that making love will make it all right again.
  2. TOUCHING: For women touching without sex is comforting and very soothing. They find that the touching gives a warm feeling of security.However for men touching without sex can easily be misunderstood and he can even feel threatened.Please understand that when men touch each other, it is in a rough manner. They slap or punch each other on the back. Tender touching makes many men feel vulnerable and dependent. These have been seen by men to be un masculine.Men find it uncomfortable with so much closeness. It makes them feel vulnerable. However women are not comfortable without this type of intimacy.
  3. TELEPHONE: Men use the telephone or mobile phone as a communication device. It is to send short messages to each other.However women see the telephone differently. They use it to keep in touch with their friends supporting, helping and growing relationships. They are more interested in people and feelings than objects such as telephones and the latest video games.
  4. SEX: When it comes to foreplay, women prefer 40-45 minutes of foreplay. However men on the other hand prefer 40-45 seconds of foreplay before sex
  5. GOING OUT: When a man says he is ready to go out, it means he is ready to go out. However when a woman says she is ready to go out, it means she is ready, as soon as she finds her other piece of jewellery and makes just one more phone call.
  6. SHOPPING: Women can shop all day and enjoy the whole experience. Its a chance to talk. They use talk to build and sustain connections with others. However men just want finish and close the situation. Its their nature. One can view this difference anytime with couples in shopping malls.
  7. BATHROOMS A man has on average around 5-6 items in his bathroom. A woman on the other hand has over 200 items in her bathroom. Make no attempt to ask a man to identify all these items.
  8. DRESSING UP: A woman will dress up to go shopping, gardening, answer the phone, or get the post. A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.
  9. CHILDREN: A woman knows all about her children. She knows about doctors and dentists appointments. All their friends, their favorite and not so favorite foods, plus their secret fears and their hopes and dreams.Most men, though not as many as years ago, are aware of some short people sharing the home.
  10. TOYS: Little girls love to play with toys. Then when they reach the age of approximately 12, they seem to lose the interest.However, men NEVER grow out of their obsession with toys. As they get older, the toys simply get more expensive. One shopping channel has a section called “Big Boys Toys”

In ending this article I would like to stress the points:

  1. Not all women are alike
  2. Not all men are alike.

There have been great men and great women who have made this world such a better place. No matter what sex you are I leave you with this quote that applies to all of us:

Be kind. Remember, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. –Thompson

I wish you perfect health and piece of mind in all that you do.

Relationship Love Lesson Of The Day: Fake It Til You Make It!

By Aiyana Ma’at

Hey sistas…..I’m not gonna hold you long today (for those who follow me….you’re thinking YEAH RIGHT!) Lol! But, seriously though I’m not for two reasons:

#1 I’m writing (which gets on my last nerves….I’d much rather run off at the mouth….cause it just comes naturally to me. :-))

#2 This is a reeeal quick and simple lesson that I’m gonna drop like it’s hot then BE OUT.

So, here it is….

When you need to experience something in your relationship—-be it a feeling, an understanding, a limit or boundary….anything—when you need to have a conversation you don’t want to have, muster up courage you don’t think is inside of you, step back and make room for your spouse, learn to be quiet when so many thoughts and words are swirling around in your head….WHATEVER……. YOU MUST PRACTICE IT UNTIL IT BECOMES PERFECT FOR YOU. BECOME IT UNTIL IT IS SECOND NATURE FOR YOU. PRETEND! IN OTHER WORDS FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT!!!!

As human beings we often want to feel inspired or moved or confident before we take on something new. But, most of the time the inspiration, movement, and confidence we desire are found only when we begin being what we want and hope to be, bringing the energy that we want to feel, and taking responsibility for our experiences.

Perhaps, when we do this we’ll be reminded that what we were looking for was never missing to begin with. We always have everything we ever need to live our lives successfully and negotiate the relationships that have been placed on our path. We lack nothing……NOTHING.

So, go ahead and rediscover your true nature and abilities. You can have the relationship you want—in fact it’s already available to you. But, you have to be willing to GET IT.

Peace, Blessings, Connection & Courage Family…..

-Aiyana

10 Crucial And Surprising Steps To Build Trust & Intimacy In A Relationship

By Dr. Robert Huizenga

1. Be predictable.

When do seeds of suspicion emerge? When one begins to think, What’s up? Why is he doing that? He’s never done that before. That is so unlike him. He loses 30 pounds, buys a new wardrobe and comes home late from work. He changes his patterns. His behavior becomes unpredictable. You get the picture? Any movement away from predictable behavior can become suspect and trust can deteriorate. Focus on acting predictably if you need to build trust. Be consistent in what you do. This doesn’t mean you must be boring. If there is a twinkle in your eye and a dose of spontaneity every so often, for goodness sakes be spontaneous and fun loving. But, be spontaneous consistently! Be true to who you have always been and be that consistently, whoever you tend to be!

2. Inform your significant other when you become “unpredictable.” No one goes through life the same person.

We all make shifts and changes. Frankly sometimes we may be fairly clueless about what is happening and where we are going. Those times may be very intense and we do some silly things or make some downright dumb decisions. Life can get very squirrelly and unpredictable. (I have a favorite phrase: Gold is refined through intense heat.) Growth in an individual, marriage or family often is accompanied by a little chaos. Welcome these shifts, for there is a part of you searching for something better/different/richer/deeper, but for heaven’s sake, inform your partner of what you are experiencing. Say, “I really don’t know what is going on in me right now, but I’m moving in a different direction. Be a little patient with me while I figure this out. I might do some silly things, but my intent is not to harm you or scare you. Accept some of my wondering and wandering and please be there for me? I may need to run some of this by you every so often!”

3. Make sure your words match the message. Mean what you say and say what you mean.

When your partner hears one thing in your words but your tone of voice, body language and facial expressions are really saying something else, you open the relationship to some crazy making days. Which message is she to believe? This can waste a tremendous amount of energy and she learns not to trust part of what you are saying. Here’s a very simple but common example. You are getting ready to go to a formal dinner. Your wife comes to you and says, “How do I look?” (And she’s wearing a dress you don’t particularly like and her hair is pulled back in a way that turns you off.) Not to spoil the evening you enthusiastically say, “You look great.” You don’t really mean it and a part of her knows you really don’t mean it. But, you leave it at that. This might not seem like a big deal – we all have done something similar – but if trust is shaky to begin with, it is even shakier now. Here’s how to match the words with the nonverbal: “I think you are a beautiful person. I want you to know that. I love you dearly and it will be wonderful to have you by my side tonight. Others will see your beauty. (As you say this, you look into her eyes as you put your hands around her waist.) She’s not concerned so much with how she looks but is expressing a need for affirmation. She’s not talking about her dress or hair, but about wanting to know the evening is going to go just fine. You respond to the real message. You can take this one step further, if you like. At some point you might bring up her need for affirmation and talk about that. Ask her is there is anything you can say or do so that need is met. Trust is awareness of the intent beneath the obvious message and responding to that!

4. Believe the other person is competent and capable of handling you and what needs to be said.

I hear this phrase very often: “But, I don’t want to hurt him.” A couple things are at play here. First, she may not have the skill of confronting the other with the truth in a way that brings reconciliation and understanding. She believes truth telling is destructive or entails some sort of drama. Neither is true. The truth is never destructive and can be conveyed in loving ways. (With that said, what we believe to be the truth may indeed be a distorted perception that fits our personal needs.) Or, she may see the other person as a wimp; someone she believes cannot handle rigorous personal confrontation. She doesn’t trust that the other person has the internal strength or stamina or skills to be in a relationship of mutual respect and equality. The other person picks up on this mistrust and does what he does (feigns inadequacy and incompetence) to avoid the personal confrontation as well. A dance is acted out. Believe and know in your heart that the other person, somewhere and somehow, beneath the games, has the internal strength and capacity to handle anything. Such trust builds trust in the other person and begins to pervade the relationship. “Hey, she thinks I can handle this! Hmmmm, this is mighty good! I CAN engage her and be truly intimate!”

5. Be very very careful of keeping secrets. Secrets are never good.

If he knows there is an elephant in the room and doesn’t talk about it, the elephant takes up tremendous space in the relationship. It takes energy for him to walk around it. She may not see the elephant but knows he is bending his neck to look around something. She will be curious, mildly disturbed, have feelings but no words to wrap around them, might wonder if something is wrong with her or struggle with trusting her intuition (her intuition KNOWS an elephant is there.) And, when we can’t trust the messages that come from within us, we find it very difficult to trust the messages of the other person. Secrets demand tremendous energy and erode trust. The relationship is doomed never to experience wall-banging intimacy. This is why extramarital affairs are so damaging. She is not so much concerned about him having sex with someone else as she is about the betrayal, lack of trust, the secrets and deception that are crazy making and energy draining. Now, please. I’m not saying that you sit your partner down and divulge the 23 secrets of your illicit past behaviors. If you have resolved those, i.e. forgiven yourself, understand those behaviors, learned from them and were able to use them to make the internal shifts necessary for your personal development, they do not qualify as an elephant. Hopefully, in the course of growing intimacy in your relationship you may want to share some of those events as you disclose to your partner where you were and where you are now. You do so without emotional charge. However, if a secret takes up room, i.e. still has an emotional charge and holds you back from disclosing more and more of yourself in the growing stages of intimacy, you have a problem that needs to be addressed with your partner.

6. Let YOUR needs be known. Be a little – no, be a lot – self-centered.

(Be self-centered, but not selfish!) Here’s a problem I run into almost every day. He is backing away (perhaps attached to work, another person, etc.). She feels the trust and intimacy eroding, is scared and wants to “win him back.” So she begins an all out effort to “work on the marriage.” She invites him to do so as well. He may reluctantly agree. She blasts full throttle ahead trying to “be nice” and meet every need he ever said he had. She’s going to “fill his tank with goodies.” Doesn’t work. Her eyes are riveted on him. He feels “smothered” or maybe even resentful: “Why is she doing this NOW!” She’s hopeful, but eventually that turns to resentment. Her underlying motive – if I meet his needs, he will feel good and meet mine – just doesn’t work. It’s perceived as manipulation, which it is. Of course, he doesn’t say anything. After all, how do you get angry with someone who is so “nice and caring?” Trust disintegrates under a blanket of quiet niceties. Start with your eyes focused on YOU. What do YOU need? Explore your personal need system. Dig beneath the surface. And then say to him: “I need…x, y and z. I would like to talk to you about them. I would like us to work out a way so my needs are met. Are you open to that?” He is empowered to say yes or no. Or, he may say, “What about my needs?” You respond, “I am very interested in hearing what is important to you, certainly.” Have you ever been around someone who stated clearly what they needed/wanted? Didn’t you respect that person? Because you knew where he stood, and therefore where you stood, didn’t that interaction move toward a trusting relationship?

7. State who YOU are – loudly.

It is very sad to see those in relationships of emotional investment hold back from letting the other person know who they really are. You build trust in a relationship by entrusting your SELF to the other person. This sounds easy but I find it difficult for most to pull off. Most of us have a difficult time declaring our SELF. For one thing, if you’re like most of us, you haven’t given much thought to what it is that makes YOU truly YOU. Don’t you feel like you glide through life on autopilot, focusing on tasks, goals, accomplishments, problems and the external realities? Don’t you tend to focus on those things out there or that person out there? You’re concerned about what he is thinking, how he is responding to you, whether he likes you, whether he will be an obstacle and where he will fit in your life? Your conversations may be pleasant but fairly superficial and bluntly, boringly inane. You converse about things/relationships/events out there. You are reluctant to share your thoughts, values, and impressions or take a stand. This doesn’t destroy trust. But it doesn’t create it either. And, if you do take a stand it may serve the purpose of protecting you or entrenching you as you react against someone. This more often than not creates trust barriers. Take some time to reflect on your standards. What are your standards for a relationship? What standards do you hold for yourself? What do you order your life around? What are the 4 top values in your life? What are some themes that you live by? What are you known for? And then…begin letting significant people in your life know. They will respect you. They will know you more deeply. They will thank you for the opportunity to know you. They will see you as a person of character. They will trust you. They can count on you. They know exactly what is behind and within you.

8. Learn to say NO! Sometimes you need to say NO! Often it is crucial to say NO!

Saying NO sets boundaries around you that protects you from being hurt or venturing into territory that will be destructive to your heart and soul. You draw a line. You stop tolerating that which drains energy and makes you less than YOU. You refuse to allow the destructive behaviors of others to destroy you. You build a moat around the core of your life. You do this by informing the other person of what they are doing. You request they stop. If they don’t stop, you demand they stop. If they don’t stop you walk away without a snide remark, eye-roll or comment. To some this seems harsh, but saying NO is RESPECTED. Fear is the basis of mistrust. If you fear that someone will hurt you and believe you have no recourse but to endure that hurt, fear will prevail. How can you trust when you are in fear? Saying NO, protecting yourself, sends a message to the other person that you will not live in fear. This usually triggers a response of respect from the other person. After all, if you can protect yourself and refuse subjugation to that which is destructive, will not the other person come to trust you and see you as a person who just might protect him/her from harm as well?

9. Practice Calmness. Charge Neutral.

When your significant other expresses something powerfully, charge neutral. Most of us are afraid of strong feelings or points of contention in a relationship. I commonly hear people respond by defending themselves (to a perceived attack), explaining themselves, counter-attacking, shutting down, or walking away. Of course, the relationship remains stuck in mistrust and fear. Rather than reacting and having your feelings flowing all over the place or shutting down, practice charging neutral. Communicate calmness, not only in your tone of voice but also in how you carry your body. Don’t speak with a charge to your voice. Control your voice! Say what you must say, state the truth and do it directly and calmly. You can do this, once you master your fears. It will dramatically change the flow of the relationship. You will be able to point out something big, without making a big deal out of it. You will be in control of you. This not only feels great, but your partner trusts that you won’t fly or fall apart. You will experience your personal power. This makes you very attractive. Don’t people really trust someone who knows their personal power and how to use it for the welfare of themselves and others? Your partner will love the fact that she can trust you consistently to operate from your “quiet center,” remain engaged, not back down and speak the truth with conviction and calmness.

10. Go beyond the surface. Dig into the dirt.

Relationships of emotional investment, by their nature, bring trials, tribulations, fears, chaos, turmoil, change, stretching and growth. They become the grist from which your life is shaped and formed. Be fearless when faced with turmoil, upset, crisis, questions, and fears. When the time is right, seek them out. Move toward the frightening unknown. Dig into the dirt of your relationship and uncover the treasures. Do you really TRUST that this can happen? The purpose of your relationship is not to make you happy. Do you realize this? Happiness may be an outcome, but your other is given to you to move you to where you really want to be. Obstacles, trials and moments of pain are given as lessons on which you intentionally write the script of your life individually and together. Embrace the difficult. Trust that in this embracing you will find more of your true self. Trust that you are given the resources and capacity to face what you and your significant other are to face. Once you are able to believe and trust these ultimate purposes, trusting your significant other will be that much more easy.

Dr. Robert Huizenga, The Infidelity Coach, has helped hundreds of couples over the past two decades heal from the agony of extramarital affairs and survive infidelity. Visit his website at Breakfreefromtheaffair.com.

Fellas Play Your Part In Preventing Relationship Failure

By Cucan Pemo

It takes a long time to build a relationship. But it does not take long to destroy it. In fact, the cycle of failure needs no pushing; it gathers its own momentum. And once it does so, it becomes very difficult to stop it or put it in reverse gear.

The important thing is to stop the cycle of failure from moving on its own. This can only be done if the two partners realize what’s happening. One of them has to step forward, and stop the relationship from cracking.

Often it is men who are responsible for the emerging cracks in a relationship. This happens when they are overambitious or move up the ladder. They get so obsessed with their work that they forget their spouses. The distances increase, and a rift develops.

A relationship may also get affected if the man enters into another relationship. By doing so, he only makes life difficult for himself. The more he tries to hide his new relationship the more he complicates things.

There may be several other reasons for relationship failure but their effect invariably is the same.

Early signs of relationship failure

The first signs of a relationship that is in trouble are:

1. Man spending less time with his partner
2. A sharp spurt in arguments and quarrels over inconsequential issues
3. A gradual erosion of trust in each other
4. Sharp drop in lovemaking and sex life
5. Both start finding fault in each other.

How can men transform a breaking relationship

It is important for men to notice the growing signs of rift and disaffection. They cannot continue to live in their own world and allow a loving relationship to fall apart. The best is to act early and limit the damage.

This requires some introspection. The men first need to understand why the relationship has run into rough weather. Why is it that their spouse has become so touchy? Is it because they have started taking their spouse for granted? This happens in most relationships. The man gets so involved in his work that he forgets that his spouse altogether.

Things reach such a pass that a man has to make notes in his appointment diary of the lunch or dinner dates he needs to keep free for his wife. The spontaeniety that first characterized their relationship vanishes. The wife has to wait for her husband to find time for her. This leads to first boredom, then anger and then depression. In some cases, it may even force women to find another relationship that can keep them occupied. The man must act before this happens.

The cancer of suspicion
In many cases the relationship is torn by suspicion. The woman may have reason to believe that her man is carrying on with someone else. In some cases, it may only be suspicion. But in some cases, a flirtation can become a dangerous extra-marital relationship.

The man has to assure his wife that there is no other woman in his life. He cannot allow an extra-marital affair to come in the way of a long and happy relationship. He has to break off any ties that he may have developed if he has to save his relationship.

He will also have to show remorse at what he did. He will have to bend and beg forgiveness. More than that, he will have to assure his wife that this will not happen again. He will be lucky if he is forgiven. He can surely anticipate the chill to continue for some more time. It is for him to ensure that he wins his wife’s affection again.

In case, the chill is the result of suspicion alone then the man must demand an explanation. However, he should do with finesse. There is no reason why he should put his wife on the back foot. He is not settling scores or avenging a hurt. He is trying to rebuild trust in the relationship. He therefore needs to clear the air of any misgivings that his wife may have started entertaining. At the same time, he must start devoting more time to her.

Don’t forget respect

No relationship can be complete unless both the partners trust each other. They also need to treat each other with respect. In fact, mutual respect is a cornerstone of any healthy relationship. Any man who runs his woman down can never expect the relationship to last.

The man must create space within which the woman must feel comfortable. She must not be made to feel small in front of friends or children. The man must convey his points deftly without hurting a woman’s pride. He must also listen to her with full courtesy and seriousness. This alone can save many a relationship.

The Gracious Wife Versus The Sarcastic Wife. Which One Are You?

By Heather Marshall

I don’t know about you, but I HATE sarcasm.

Okay, okay, I know that there are times when it is funny, and even somewhat appropriate (like when my husband hikes his pants all the way up to his chest and runs around the house like that, and I say, “Oooh, that’s sexy!” …definite sarcasm there). Most times, however, sarcasm does not have happy results, even if the receiver does not “seem” hurt, offended, or angry.

Picture this: Your husband comes home from work a little late, and you make a sarcastic comment on his timing as he walks through the door. He flops on the couch, exhausted from work, as you finish making dinner. You observe him relaxing while you’re working hard to get dinner done and the table set. Insert sarcastic comment about how helpful he’s being. After dinner, he helps clear the table. Insert another sarcastic comment about how helpful he’s being, assuming he’s only helping because of your first comment. How do you think your husband is feeling at this point? Encouraged and uplifted? Or discouraged and defeated?

Does this seem like your home? Your relationship with your husband? You may think your comments are funny, and he may even laugh… but picture your sarcasm acting like a game of Jenga: the longer it goes on, the wobblier your marriage will be, until it (or your husband) collapses.

Ready for another word picture? Picture a sand castle being meticulously built on the beach next to the beautiful ocean. You can build it high, sculpt it perfectly, and decorate it beautifully… but gradually, as the tide comes in, the water will eat away the foundation of your castle, and it will crumble and fall. Your sarcasm acts like that water, eating away at your marriage until it destroys it.

Sarcasm is THAT dangerous.

Why? Because, all too often, truth is hidden in sarcastic barbs. If, deep down (or not so deep down even!), you think your husband is a loser, the things you sarcastically say will show your true feelings. Hurt by something your husband said to you? Sarcasm is often the retaliation. It seems “safer” than an all-out confrontation, but it is not! It can cause a deep wound to your husband, and over time that wound can either harden his heart toward you, cause a rift in your marriage that is difficult to mend, or fester and infect him with bitterness toward you.

Sarcasm demeans your husband, shows the lack of respect you have for him, and is the opposite of a gracious wife!

Perhaps sarcasm is part of “who you are,” part of your “sense of humor.” I’d like for you to evaluate why exactly you enjoy using sarcasm, and make sure that you are not hurting or demeaning others through your sarcasm. I decided long ago that sarcasm was unbecoming of a Godly (or striving to be Godly) woman, and a sarcastic woman was NOT what I wanted to be. I had to evaluate what I was saying, and how I was saying it.

Here are some questions to ask yourself the next time you feel a sarcastic comment coming on:

Who will benefit from me saying this? Will it uplift and encourage anyone? Will it bring joy or laughter to someone else? (see #2 if this last answer is a “yes”)

Will anyone be demeaned, offended, insulted, singled out, made to feel uncomfortable, or made fun of? Will the comment be at the expense of another person, even if they are not present in the room? (If yes, it’s not worth it to say it!!)

What are my motives? Am I saying this to draw attention to myself, even if it’s to my own flaws? Am I trying to get someone to notice how much I’m doing, or how much they are NOT doing?

What am I REALLY trying to say? Am I trying to get my hurt feelings assuaged or noticed? Am I trying to get help in a particular area?

How will the recipient of my sarcasm receive it? Did you recently have a fight, and a sarcastic comment will be like throwing salt in an open wound? Has he had a bad day, and one negative comment from you will push him over the edge?

IS IT NECESSARY? Sometimes, you won’t know the answer to the above questions. You might think everything is fine, throw out a few zingers, and it could be the worst thing you’ve ever done. You JUST DON’T ALWAYS KNOW. Therefore…. if your sarcasm is not necessary, just don’t say it!! You might not be known as the funniest girl at the party, but at least you won’t leave a trail of hurt feelings behind you.

Shall we strive to knock sarcasm out of our lives? Shall we strive to break that habit? Let’s strive to be Gracious Wives, who lift up and encourage our husbands, not tear them down with our sarcasm.

My name is Heather Marshall, and I am…a striving wife…29 years old…married to my best friend…a born-again Christian…a former high school science teacher…a cancer survivor…the youngest of three kids…a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, and a friend…often insecure in my body, but always secure in my God…an avid reader…in youth ministry &…growing in Christ. Visit Heather at www.thestrivingwife.com

 

4 Tips To Make Your Wedding Day More Enjoyable for You and Your Spouse

By Tina Hamilton

The tales of love always tell you that your wedding day will be the best day of your life. There will be nothing but love surrounding you and memories to be made. However, most couples experience something a little different on their wedding day. The day is supposed to be able the couple’s love, but instead usually turns into family squabbles, wardrobe malfunctions and loads of anxiety.

If you are someone approaching your wedding day, or you are involved with an upcoming wedding, you want to do everything in your power to ensure that your wedding day is as beautiful as you always imagined it would be. To help you do that, there are some ways to make your wedding day more enjoyable for you and your spouse.
Start your morning out right
You may feel rushed to get everything done right away the morning of your wedding, but it extremely important to take some time to have a good breakfast before you start the day. Having a good meal will ensure that you will be happy and full of energy as the day progresses, even if you don’t get to eat much the rest of the day.
Additionally, make sure that you get enough sleep the night before. You will not only look better when you are well rested, but you will also feel better. Plan bachelor and bachelorette parties for the weekend before to save yourself for the wedding day.
Delegate your wedding party
You wedding party are the people you trust the most, the people who know you both better than anyone else. They are there to make your wedding day everything you wanted it to be, so let them help you out as much as they can. Give each person a specific job, whether that is checking to make sure the bride’s hair and makeup always looks good, or keeping annoying guests away from the groom. Thank your wedding party for these chores with beautiful bridesmaid and cool groomsmen gift ideas.
Take time out for little moments between you and your spouse
Little special, sometimes unplanned moments between just you and your spouse are the best moments of your wedding day. Those are the moments that you will remember for a lifetime to come. Don’t lose track of time and forget to stop and take time to enjoy your new spouse. You can plan times for the two of you to be alone throughout the day so that you can savor every second of your special day with your special someone.
Don’t let little problems stress you out
It is a tip that many of us need to practice not just on our wedding day, but every day. Don’t let little issues stress you out on your wedding day. If you centerpieces aren’t exactly right or your new shoes are giving your feet blisters, just roll with it and move on. You can always switch into more comfortable shoes or simply ignore the centerpieces, but you will never again have this day that is all about you and your spouse. Try to savor every moment for all of it’s good, and rid your memories of all the bad.

Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. You can find her on Twitter- @Tinathescribe.

Happy 9th Wedding Anniversary to Coma & Daphney Weston!!!

By Team BLAM

We are celebrating Coma & Daphney Weston today! It’s their Anniversary! Daphney shared some of her thoughts about their relationship and how she feels about being married to the one she loves.  Check out her interview below.

Q: How did the two of you meet?

We met when we where 16 and 14.  My husband would say 15 and 13. His aunt is one of my friends that is how we met.

 

Q:  How did you know that your spouse was “the one” you wanted to spend the rest of your life with?

My husband and I broke up for a few years but we were always friends. He is in the army. He came home one weekend and  we fell in love all over again. 2 weeks later we married in the court house.

Q: What have you learned about yourself from being married?

I have learned that you must put God First always. Also I can love someone as much as I love myself in a relationship and that you can not be selfish. You must compromise or it will never work. And there is no need to always have the last word, never…

Never go to bed mad. Agree to disagree and never listen to the bitter girlfriend who is single and mad all the time. She wants you unhappy because she is—by that I mean do not put everyone in your marriage.

Q: What is the thing you love most about being married?

What I love is that fact I wake up everyday to someone who loves me for me I do not have to change to fit an image and he loves me just for being me

Q: What do you both hope to accomplish in the future?

Just to be better Christians so that we may keep our marriage strong and and more productive in life and in church just better people

Q:What advice would you give to dating couples or newlyweds if you could only tell them one thing?

If you do not think you have a future or this person is not marriage material (same goals/plans) do not waste your time. Life is to short to waste your energy to go nowhere. It makes no sense to give yourself to an unworthy person. Value your time. If you do that you will be much happier in life with yourself, your marriage and your relationship.

I Woke Up To This by Coma Weston

When years are passing by like days,
and in my hand your hand is placed,
a knowing smile crosses your face,
a simple touch can still make my heart race.

When I can see my soul in your eyes,
and you see your soul in mine we realize,
that a love so deep can harbor no lies,
where our only tears shed were happy tears we’ve cried.

I love you as much now as I ever did before,
if possible, I may even love you more,
all starting from a feeling we did not ignore,
a feeling of connection we chose to explore.

I don’t know what it is that you saw in me,
what I saw in you was the utmost happiness
that can ever be,
even more so on the day when you and I
became “We”,
I can still smile and say with love and
truth Honey, I love you…Happy Anniversary.

Happy Anniversary Coma & Daphney!!!!!!

 

 

Would you like to acknowledge the one you love for something special? Hit us up and we’d be happy to shout you and your special someone out! 😉