Larry James' CelebrateLove.com BLOG

Thursday, October 23, 2014

So… What About Opposite Sex Friends When You Are Married?

Filed under: Guest Authors,Relationships — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: ,

Armida Dispieta, Guest Author

I’ve pretty much always had a guy as my “best friend,” all my life, and have a lot of close male friends both online and offline. I think there is a lot of value in having at least one platonic friend of the opposite sex, especially if you’re married or in a serious committed relationship. Here’s why:

1. It proves that your relationship has a healthy level of trust on both sides.
2. If you’re heterosexual, it gives you someone of the same sex as your partner to ask for advice.
3. You can vent to your friend so that you’re not constantly boring your partner with endless stories about all the minor dramas of your life. I appreciate it when my guy friends tell me “you’re obsessing about this, let it go” .. because my girlfriends won’t say that, they’ll just be sympathetic and let their minds wander.
4. It’s fun! I enjoy the company of both women and men, and there are benefits to having a wide variety of friends.

OppositeSexFriendsNow, for how to make it work.

Choose carefully. Make sure you are very clear with your friend of the opposite sex that you are married or committed and not available, and that if there is ever a conflict of interest or time, your relationship gets priority. Mention your partner/spouse often and if it seems to make your friend uncomfortable or jealous, that’s not a good sign. It’s best if the other person is also in a relationship. If appropriate, socialize as couples occasionally.

Be up-front with your partner that you have friendship only in mind, but this is a person that you want in your life. It helps to have a specific reason, like a shared hobby, networking or professional connection, or mutual friends. If your partner becomes uncomfortable or jealous, it’s essential to put the friendship on hold until you work things out. I don’t believe that a spouse or partner should ever have to say “it’s him/her or me.” If you have a healthy relationship and are respectful of your partner’s feelings, that situation should never arise.

You should have nothing to hide. Mention casually that you had lunch with X, and give a short summary of what’s going on in their life, job, etc. If you have online contact with your friend, tell your partner that you’re talking to them, let them read the chat window over your shoulder if they want, encourage them to say “hi” to each other from time to time… just as you would with a friend of your same sex.

Be loyal to your partner. Don’t ever badmouth or complain about them to your friend of the opposite sex, and be very careful about sharing things that should be kept private between you as a couple. If you do find yourself tempted to ask for serious relationship advice or cry on their shoulder, this should be a RED flag and you should focus on fixing your relationship. My rule of thumb is that my partner should know more about my friend than my friend knows about my partner. Note: this is tricky for women, because we’re used to telling our female friends private stuff about our spouse/partner, sex life, etc.

It is possible to flirt with a friend of the opposite sex, but it’s dangerous and very easy to let things get carried away. If you want to do this, I suggest having multiple friends and being deliberately and openly flirtatious with everybody equally, in public. If you ever find yourself in the position of saying or doing things in private that you would not want your partner/spouse to know about, you should break off the friendship immediately, because it is either already an affair or will be soon. And recognize that your friend may be the one who crosses the line. It happens. At that point you have to be ruthless, for the sake of your primary relationship.

Larry’s NOTE: A platonic relationship (opposite sex friends when you are married) is a non-issue when there is absolute trust between the spouses. Trust brings partners closer together. Consider it a Divine joining; the inevitable interweaving that occurs when two people love unconditionally and become as one. One of the most wonderful gifts of a loving marriage is the ability to trust your partner. This creates safety, security and a deeper capacity to love. You must never stop working on building trust in your marriage. Successful marriages are built on trust. It’s the foundation of a healthy relationship. There can be no trust without conversation; no genuine intimacy without trust. Armida said it very well, “If you ever find yourself in the position of saying or doing things in private that you would not want your partner/spouse to know about, you should break off the friendship immediately, because it is either already an affair or will be soon.”

BONUS Article: Faith and Trust… You Must Have Both!
Always Tell the Truth

ArmidaDispietaCopyright © 2014 Armida Dispieta. Reprinted with permission. Armida is an INTJ personality (INTJs focus their energy on observing the world, and generating ideas and possibilities), writer, mom of two boys, from the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit her articles at http://www.Quora.com/Armida-Dispieta

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Making Love vs. Having Sex!

Filed under: Making Love,Relationships,Sex — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: , ,

Come on… Do I really have to explain this to you?

It’s simple. Slow and easy vs. wham, bam, thank you, mam! Intentional vs. fast and furious! Loving vs. loveless! Sweet, tender lovemaking vs. a quickie! Planing vs. spontaneity! Got the point?

sexual_intimacy2Pay attention guys! Making love is about pleasing your partner FIRST! Very WRONG: The act of having sex without even bothering to try to get the woman to orgasm. Usually lasts for about ten seconds. For some guys… less that that. ;-)

Having sex, even great sex, is not necessarily making love. It should never be a rushed experience. Men often tend to forget about foreplay. Foreplay begins with taking out the garbage without being asked! Foreplay means you don’t want to rush sex, you want to take your time and enjoy every bit of it. When there is no foreplay there is (obviously?) no desire in wanting to please each other, and that is a major difference between having sex and making love. It’s difficult for women to have the big “O” without being able to first connect with the person through foreplay.

And all the women said, “Amen!”

To quote Rachel Astarte: “One of the most beautiful aspects of human nature is our versatility.” There are many ways to express the love you feel for each other. Conversation is one way. In my coaching practice, I talk to a lot of couples who haven’t spent 5 minutes talking about making love… what they like and what they don’t like. Bad first move. Read some good books about physical intimacy or take a class or get some coaching. You may learn something.

In my view it is wrong if sexual desires are expressed as demands, followed by punishing rejection if the demands are not complied with. It’s okay to say, “No,” to something you do not want.

Making love is filled with emotions. It’s a act of expressing and showing the love you have for the person your sharing the experience with. It’s more of a deep connection, more tender and it involves the heart. Making love makes you want to please every part of your partner physically and emotionally. Making love is more meaningful and satisfying and there is more kissing and romantic touching. When couples have chemistry together… things can heat up quickly.

redhot

For more info, click the book cover!

It takes two to Tango, and so too does it take two to make love. Making love includes emotions, while sex is just the action. Anyone can have sex, but after a while… that may become more and more unromantic and even boring, especially if one partner is not getting what they want. We must all learn to transcend the self-interested desire for sexual satisfaction so that you and your partner’s goals are the mutual fulfillment of both’s wishes, expectations, needs, and the pleasure derived from sexual intimacy. Responding in kind to each loving touch, movement, word, kiss, sound, caress, look, etc., is what making love is all about. Express real care and concern for a partner’s happiness and well-being and you are on you way to making love.

I repeat, making love must be full of gentle caresses, tender kisses, terms of endearment, cuddles, loving looks and feelings of deep connectedness, leading up to, during and especially following close personal intimacy.

“Making Love without expecting anything in return by means of benevolence, kind words and deeds is what adds validity to sex and makes it more meaningful, which in turn adds to the longevity of your relationship, because sex alone is not adequate enough to sustain a good long-term relationship.” ~ Darryl Y. Barron

Having sex is more about pleasing yourself, however, there is nothing wrong with having sex or a quickie once in awhile as long as wonderful erotic excitement, intense pleasure and saturating satisfaction results and if both partner’s are in agreement.

Making love is fun and pleasure is good for you! It is only important if you both desire a deep emotional connection, affection and shared bond that can only develop between loving and caring partners.

BONUS Articles: Are You Making Love or Just Having Sex?
Reignite Your Interest in Making Love!
Celebrate Love at Your Very Own “Wonderama!”

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Challenge: A 24 Hour Cell Phone Fast!

First of all, let me say that modern technology is terrific. I love it… and we have a new phenomenon – cell phone addicts! We even have a new phobia – nomophobia: the fear of being out of cell phone contact. Welcome to the digital age!

Can you remember a time where people just used to have conversations? If someone is talking to you, you should be listening to them. Not to worry. Your cell phone will still be there at the end of the conversation, then you can check it or whatever yo do with it. There is a reason that when you get text messages, they stay there on your phone. They won’t go away until you delete them. No need to rush to read your texts. There is a reason it’s called an in-box. Text messages stay there so you can go back and look at them later. Here is the point! If you are with people… be with the people! We all need to interact and talk more face-to-face and enjoy the moment.

CELLphobiaA recent study on cellphone activity conducted at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, found that college students spend nearly nine hours per day on their cell phones.

The report, “The Invisible Addiction: Cellphone Activities and Addiction Among Male and Female College Students,” revealed that of the 164 students surveyed, 60% admitted that their excessive phone use might be an addiction. Smartphones are so ingrained in daily life that it’s not surprising that addiction to such devices is on the rise.

One student recently said, “If I don’t feel my phone vibrate within a 15-minute time range, I check it,” he says. “Now that I think about it, I might be addicted to my phone.” Might be? Half of being smart is knowing what your dumb at. It’s been said that the average person spends 4 years of their life looking down at a tiny screen. Do you? Do you tune out from people trying to have a conversation with you by constantly checking your smartphone screen?

CellPhoneFastWe can’t escape social media “and” we can control how it gets in our way of good communication with a real, live human. Are you a cellphone addict? It’s time to take a break from your online life to experience real connections. When you’re in public and you start to feel alone, put your hands behind your head and step away from the phone. We are beginning to be a generation of idiots… smart phones and dumb people. We need to relearn being in the moment. Remember when we just ate the food instead of Instagramming it first?

Remember when you had one phone at home and it was plugged into the wall? You couldn’t take it with you. When you returned, you pushed a button and listened to your voice-mail.

Here is my one-day challenge to you. Let’s call it a “24 Hour Cell Phone Fast!” A sort of digital detox. Just for one day, when you are with your partner or friends, turn your cell phone off or better yet… leave it at home. Ignore your smart phone for only 1 day. Don’t use apps, or play games, or Twitter, or Facebook, or engage in idle texting or check the weather. Look up, and look around. Perspective is a beautiful thing, and it’s hard to get any when your face is glued to a screen. When you return, you can check your texts and your voice-mail. Perhaps it will help you feel really present, and more in-the-moment. I think we could all benefit from an occasional digital diet.

But today, there you are, with your sweetheart looking at your smartphone or tablet, swiping, scrolling, texting, reading, while she sits across the table. Not a good scenario. Obviously we all need to stay connected with e-mail, work and friends, “and” still be present with our close friends and partners. Cell phones can be corrosive to the relationship. Our smart phones are hurting our relationships – and that’s hurting us.

Recently, Applebee’s – the world’s largest casual-dining chain – filed a trademark for something called “No Tech Tuesday,” which is rumored to be in anticipation of a program of the same name.

Here are a few horrifying facts that are intended to cause you to put down your phone.

• Using a cell or portable electronic device while driving increases the risk of crashing by 300%!

PutDownYourPhone2• The average time your eyes are off the road when texting is 5 seconds! At 55 mph that is enough time to drive the length of a football field.

• in 2011, 3,360 people died in a crash related to distracted drivers.

• Parents on smart phones often ignore their kids.

• A study in the Journal of Hospital Infection showed a greater risk of contamination in medical wards where mobile devises were being used.

• A study at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden reported that heavy use of cell phone use increased depression as well as sleep disorders (specifically in men).

• A microbiologist at the University of Arizona concluded that cell phones have more germs than toilet seats.

• THe iPhone keeps track of a lot of personal information. Your phone is constantly tracking your coordinates and saving them to a secret fie. Which means that if someone gets access to your phone or computer, they can tell exactly where you’ve been.

Somewhere I read that 33% of people would rather give up sex than their cellphone. What is this world coming to? You don’t own your phone. Your phone owns you and that is a sad state of affairs.

Even the Pope got on the bandwagon. Speaking to a 50,000 strong crowd of German altar servers recently, Pope Francis warned of time wasted with eyes glued to screens.

iPhones, Androids and smart phones are everywhere and there are some places they shouldn’t be. I was saddened to recently see a good looking couple having a candlelit dinner together and both of them had their cell phone and were checking things out between bites. NO! It should and could have been a very romantic time together. It would have been much wiser to silence the ringer, put the phone away and ignore it until the date was over. You should be having meaningful conversations not being digitally connected to each other. I thought you were supposed to give your partner – not your smart phone – your full attention when on a date and that conversation was a two-way street. I was tempted to walk over and say, “Put your cell phones down, look each other in the eyes and talk to each other, for God’s sake!” It’s a matter of respect! Here’s a tip: Keep your cell phone off the table during meals so that you’re not interrupted or tempted to fiddle with it when you’re with the one you love.

It’s time we put down our phone and reconnect with each other. Connections are made by people, and not technology.

Perhaps this video poem will inspire you to take on my “one-day challenge” and put down your smartphone!

And finally…

BONUS Articles: 5 Ways to Deal With Dinner Party Guests Who Won’t Put Down Their Phones
Put the Cell Phone Down
How to Persuade Someone to Stop Using Their Cellphone During Lunch With You
Cell Phones, Bras, and Breast Cancer Risk

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Getting Married… Don’t Dismiss Your Close Friends

Filed under: Relationships — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: ,

It’s important to maintain friendships with people you were friends with before you got married.

I once knew a woman who after she got married pretty much stopped hanging out with her friends because she wanted to be with her husband. She went MIA. Little by little they began to find new friends and other things to do with their time and eventually dropped away. Some were single girlfriends and some were married. Most were women, only one was a man. Friends provide support and care, help you cope in difficult situations, offer encouragement, and can actually make you happier and healthier. When a friendship has been in your life for a while and the dynamic begins to shift people eventually stop calling.

DismissFriendsFast forward 10 years. She got a divorce. Now she was alone. She needed someone beside her cat to spend time with. She was not feeling supported or nourished by their former friendship. Her opposite sex friends also dropped her. (My opinion: The sex of the friend is not as important as the nature of the relationship – more on this some other time). Her friends had moved on and she was left without any close friends to comfort her or to be with.

You don’t need only married friends to convince you to stay on the straight and narrow any more than your single friends should be able to lead you astray. After the divorce, she began recontacting some of her old friends however she had this sudden realization that they were no long as close as they once were and she was single again and on her own. I cautioned her not to sever those relationships but she didn’t listen. Letting go of those who has been a prominent fixture in your life is not a wise move. She once told me she had this regretful longing and was often consumed with guilt for not being there for them like she used to.

While it is wise to let go of relationships that no longer serve you – friends who were bar hopping and crazy wild (most smart partners weeding out the bad ones when they get married) – it is important for your own well being to continue relationships that nurture you, support you and provide ears to listen when you need to talk. Things are going to change when your married, you need to choose your time wisely and it gets even harder when kids enter the picture.

I’ve said for many years that you can’t be anyone’s friend – including your husband’s friend – if you aren’t taking care of yourself first and foremost. Of course, your relationship with your husband gets top priority. However, letting go of your friends and clinging only to your husband is called co-dependency. Maintaining former friendships after you are married requires setting priorities and balancing the time with your friends and your own family. Being married tends to require that you pay greater attention to your schedule, especially as more time is devoted to being with your hubby.

“Friendships provide support, keep us from feeling lonely, and make us well-rounded people. Encouraging and supportive friends understand that your best-friend is, and should be, your spouse, but no matter how close we are to our spouse and kids, we often desire to have a kinship with others.” ~ TwoOfUs.org

Shared interests, common bonds and friendships forged over years are nothing to just drop because you get married. Any true friend should be part of your life, married or single. You still need that “girl time.” Spending a little time away with your girlfriends gives you a chance to unwind and relax. I believe married couples should keep their friends, and as long as there is a bond of trust and a high level of respect between them there will rarely ever be problems.

BONUS Article: 9 Surprising Ways Your Friendships Change After You’re Married

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Missing Him or Her?

Filed under: Relationships — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I once had a relationship that didn’t work! When she called it quits, I was a wreck. I couldn’t focus on much of anything. I got distracted very easily and often would do my best to hide my tears. I felt sad. Alone. I felt separated from the world. I was hurting and often it was a visible hurting that was noticeable by my friends. I wanted desperately to stop the pain. I needed to quit clinging on to the past.

MissingHerHimIt’s normal to feel sad, angry, exhausted, frustrated, and confused and these feelings for me was extremely intense. It is also common to feel emotionally overwhelmed and experience frequent, sometimes uncontrollable, emotional outbursts or become “numb” with little expression of feeling. I didn’t know it was normal to feel that way. I felt the magnitude of the loss, and I mourned it. I thought the grief of the loss of my relationship would never end. I isolated myself as best I could and allowed myself to suffer for several weeks before I finally reached out for help.

A breakup launches us into uncharted territory. Everything is disrupted: your routine and responsibilities, your home, your relationships with extended family and friends, and even your identity. A breakup brings uncertainty about the future. This was one of the most stressful and life-changing events of my life.

It’s never easy when a marriage or significant relationship is complete. Notice I didn’t say: “It’s never easy when a marriage or significant relationship ends!” Relationships never end. Death, divorce or separation only changes them. As long as you have memory, you will always be related. We can recognize and acknowledge when a relationship is over or complete, however, relationships never end. The relationship only becomes different… it never ends. It’s important to know this.

Instead of focusing on the demise of the relationship, I began to write my feelings in a journal. I started to take charge of the recovery process. With the assistance of my therapist, I began writing about the really great times we had together. That helped me move a little quicker to the resolution of the enormous feelings of loss. I began to realized that there were many lessons that had presented themselves to me, but since I was so totally lost in Love, I failed to see them until after the breakup.

For the first time in a long time I was brutally honest with myself. I allowed myself to grieve. Sometime my tears left their marks of the pages of my journal. But I didn’t stop. While in a moment of clarity, I recognized this loss may be the best thing for me, although it was making my life miserable at the time. I missed her, and I knew I had to let her go. Over time, I realized that this breakup was probably something that I might later know was necessary to make way for something better.

Girl missing her lost loveI avoided going to the places where we were often seen together. I planned a new route around the area where she worked. I fought a compulsive desire to see, hear, talk to, know what and how she was doing. One time I drove by her house just to see if I might see her. I immediately discovered that that was not a good idea. Once I went to a movie by myself and realized that I had no one to save my seat while I went to get popcorn. ;-)

In her new book, “Getting Past Your Breakup,” Susan J. Elliot says that a rule of “No Contact” with an ex is necessary to fully heal and grieve after a tough breakup. Although she understands how difficult this notion can be (she has personal experience in the department of contacting exes), she says, “in order to truly get past your breakup, you need to separate emotionally, physically, and psychologically from the relationship.

I began to focus on me more. I started taking better care of myself and making more healthy and better choices. It began to feel more like an opportunity to grow and learn.

In my journal, I began to list the things that I knew I could have done better. Forgiving myself was where I started. My writings began to answer the question about what a “healthy” relationship might look like for me in the future. I started to see my experience from a healthier perspective.

After my breakup, I began to stumble through withdrawal, understanding that I was still in the world, and while allowing myself to mourn through the loss, I could eventually return to myself, maybe even to a wiser, deeper, stronger and more resilient version of myself.

I survived! So can you. Seeing a relationship coach or therapist to process the residual emotions and thoughts is a healthy way to deal with a breakup, especially if you’re feeling guilt, regret or starting to dwell in sadness. Breakups are rarely ever going to be a snap; however, with healthy tools and motivation, you can heal and there is a strong possibility that you will emerge better for it.

Larry’s NOTE: Parts of my journal became a part of my first relationship book: “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship!” This book was truly inspired by the breakup. It was featured on ABC TV’s “The View” when Barbara Walters interviewed me.

BONUS Article: A Few Steps to Take Before You Complete a Relationship!
… And If All Else Fails?
The 5 Stages of Grieving the End of a Relationship
Getting Over a Breakup

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Friday, October 3, 2014

Confrontation is Not a 4-Letter Word

Filed under: Communication,Confrontation,Relationships — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: ,

For a healthy relationship to survive, confrontation is often necessary. However, it is one of those words that seem to evoke negative emotions and responses.

Many couples do their best to avoid any confrontation. What you don’t say if often the very thing that can drive a wedge between couples that can be difficult to move past. We often perceive confrontation as conflict. It is not. Conflict and confrontation are not really synonyms, but we do behave and speak as if they are. Some people will tolerate almost anything, personally or professionally, to avoid the interpersonal discomfort and the conflict too often associated with confrontation.

ConfrontationUndelivered communication is often meant to avoid confrontation, which, I might add, is unavoidable. As difficult as it may be, not communicating about something that annoys you will invariably show its ugly head again until you muster up the courage to openly and honestly express – in the most loving way you can – how you truly feel.

“There may be no single thing more important in our efforts to achieve meaningful work and fulfilling relationships than to learn and practice the art of communication. Confrontations are communication events that enable us to learn what else is needed to have a desired result happen and for us to use our breakdowns as as a natural part of the organizational learning process.” ~ Max DePree

Confrontation is one of those scary words most of us like to avoid. In order to handle confrontation successfully we must be able to bring ourselves into the conversation as honestly as possible. When issues arise in relationships, it’s important to be upfront and open about your part in any conflict as well as your true feelings about it. Never jump to conclusions. Instead of assuming something and allowing resentment to build, when you discover something that upsets you, go straight to the source and ask for clarification.

But first… Take a look at what you are committed to that has the issue be a problem. The purpose of confrontation or feedback must always be restorative, not punitive. To lash out in anger never works. Confrontation becomes the opportunity to gently admonish, support, and encourage your partner toward actions that will restore the relationship. Confrontation doesn’t work by texting or e-mail. Find a time to sit down privately with your partner and talk with them face-to-face about your concerns.

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” ~ Spencer Johnson

It may be that you are committed to having an open and honest relationship and you’ve discovered that your partner is doing something you don’t approve of and has been hiding it from you. This involves how you both feel about trust in the relationship. In this case, confrontation cannot be denied or avoided. It’s time to negotiate a recommitment. If your partner acknowledges that their behavior was a breach of integrity and that they should have told you, you can accept their apology and move forward to negotiate a recommitment. It order to do this, confrontation is inevitable. That is, confrontation without aggression or anger.

“The words we choose to begin our conversation with the recipient of feedback set the tone for the remainder of the interaction. Since we are approaching another in an attitude of love, to teach, support and promote communication, then we choose wisely when our words demonstrate our awareness of the individual’s accomplishments and/or understanding of his or her situation.” ~ Julie McDonald

That is why I say you must look at what you are committed to that has the issue be a problem before you initiate confrontation. Speaking honestly to your partner about behaviors that may be hurting the relationship is your obligation as an equal partner. Partners are not always willing to hear, let alone work on the issues you have presented. I repeat… you must choose your words wisely. Know what you are going to say in advance. Be honest and straightforward. There’s no need to drag up previous incidents; they are not relevant here. Focus on precisely what has happened that has you upset and explain your reasoning. When it comes to relationships, the stakes are simply too high to use confrontation without caution. Think before you speak. Pray for wisdom. Then speak using the most loving words you can.

One way might be to say, “When you do __(fill in the blank)__, I feel __(express how it causes you to feel)__.” Don’t sugar coat it. Be honest about how you feel. Saying it this way, focuses not so much on how what they have done, but how it causes you to feel. It can help defuse the issue and calls more attention to your feelings. Most partners are more receptive to listening to the fact that they have cause you to feel a certain way and may be more willing to make a new commitment to change their behavior.

Remember, making an issue out of every little thing will only create unnecessary tension in the relationship. All relationships are bound to experience conflict from time to time. Pick your battles. It is often more important to allow the minor events to slide. Save your energy for real problems. However, if something annoys you more than 3 or 4 times, my own personal rule is to not withhold any communication about it.

BONUS Articles: Weigh Your Words
For Men Only – Have No Undelivered Communication!
Communicating is Not Optional

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Monday, September 29, 2014

What Are the Benefits of Working on YOU?

Filed under: Relationships — Larry James @ 7:30 am

One of the rewards for working on you is that you begin to feel good about who you are! You begin to love you again! Not the self-centered love that distracts you from being loving to others, but a genuine love-of-self; the kind of love you can share with others.

Benefits-WorkOnYouLoving yourself for who you are causes you to feel like a whole person again. We often spent so much of our time being concerned about the relationship we are in with someone else, that we forget about ourselves. This is called “losing yourself in the relationship.” This can never be a healthy way of being.

Working on yourself takes discipline, determination and doing something different. For lasting change; the kind of change that makes a difference, you must “change your behavior.”

The relationship we have with ourselves and the relationship we have with others takes intentional effort. This, we know is true: “We must work on relationships ALL THE TIME, not only when they are broken and need to be fixed!” Relationships should never become a struggle. They become a struggle when someone is not pulling their fair share of the load.

It is difficult to feel good about yourself, when you know you are letting your love partner down by not giving yourself your full attention. You take care of you – your partner does the same. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to pay attention to the overall relationship unless you both know how to focus attention on yourselves first. Two broken people can’t fix each other.

You only have the choice to fix you! To invent a new beginning, you must first acknowledge the problems that require solutions. To fix yourself, you must never stray from the path of self-discovery. You must always know where you stand with yourself. The only way you can do this is to be attentive to, and intentional about having the best relationship with yourself that is humanly possible.

Always remember… Your relationship only gets better when you do!

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Guys! Know When to Zip Your Lip!

“Does this dress make my butt look big?”

Woah, Dude! Shut my mouth! Is this a trick question? How do you answer a question like that? You are about to enter a minefield. If you do answer, do so at your own risk. What if she actually has a big butt? Not a lot of wiggle room there. Women should know better than to ask the question that way (grow up and quit asking questions that require your man to lie). In a survey I read recently, women resoundingly responded that the perfect answer is “No, you look great.” It’s simple really. Really? Any answer you give could be famous last words. ;-)

The point is… your words can get you in big trouble! Men need to learn to think before they speak. Paying attention to what you say can really make a difference and earn you a few brownie points.

when2ZipYourLipI had a coaching session recently with a man who was prone to say what he thought needed to be said without considering how his hurtful words were driving a wedge between his partner and him. He was quick to anger and what he said almost always led to a much bigger disagreement.

Almost everyone has found themselves in a situation where they don’t know if they should bite their tongue or speak their mind. He knew, however, he usually plowed straight ahead, hurting her feelings, even though he knew when he was doing it that it was wrong. His choice to keep going was a disastrous decision. It nearly always led to a major communication breakdown.

I reminded him of something Mark Twain once said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” It’s important to know when to speak up and when to stop running your mouth.

I asked him to look at the “what” behind his communications to his partner. “What” good can possibly come from raising your voice and purposefully talking down to your partner? His answer: “I don’t know.” I don’t know is not a good answer when you are receiving coaching and voluntarily came with your partner to fix the problem. When he began to look at the effects of his communications – on others and himself – we began to get somewhere.

I turned to her and asked her how it felt when he spoke to her that way? She reached for a tissue and said, “Awful. I love him and I hate it when he talks to me that way.”

I turned to him and asked, “How does that make you feel?” His answer: “Bad, but she… (blah, blah, blah)!”

“STOP,” I said! “This is not about her, it’s about how you are treating the woman you say you love.” From there we began to make some progress.

For the most part – right or wrong – guys have the reputation for not expressing themselves to their partner. It is good to merely “be” with your beloved, to be indulgent. Here we are talking about the lack of sharing how they feel about something. Some are considered close-lipped, closed-mouth, hush-hush, private, reticent, secretive, silent, tight-lipped and uncommunicative. Generally speaking, they do not like to talk about their feelings and they usually don’t listen very well. There is a lesson here: You can always learn more about your partnership if you listen more than you talk.

You must zip your lip when you feel the urge to say something hurtful to your partner. Getting the last word when having a disagreement with your partner is rarely ever a good thing. It only exacerbates the situation.

Remember that it’s not always what you say but “how” you say it. Angry? It’s better to keep the peace. Practice your shut up! It’s a matter of respect! Please think before you speak! You have no idea just how smart that is. You cannot un-ring a bell. Sometimes it’s better to “think it” rather than say it!

BONUS Articles: Does This Dress Make My Butt Look Fat?
“Do These Pants Make My Butt Look Big?” and Other Questions You May be Tempted to Ask Your Partner
Five Reasons Men Go Silent, and What to Do About It (Part One)
Five Reasons Men Go Silent, and What to Do About It (Part Two)

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Can You Honestly Say…

“I am doing my best?”

If not you may be passing up many opportunities to exceed everyday.

CanYouSayYou can do that with a smile and by saying hello to a perfect stranger. It may be just what they need at that moment in time. You have to admit there have been times when a smile may have been just what you needed too.

You can do it by helping others help themselves.

Complimenting co-workers about a job well done is a very easy and affordable way of showing gratitude and appreciation.

“The inauthenticity between how we live life and the truth we know about it comes at a steep price.” ~ Parker Palmer

Do your best work by becoming part of the solution instead of being a part of the problem. Do your very best on every task and on your everyday interaction with everyone you meet. Are you doing the best you can? It’s good to ask yourself that question from time to time.

Learning to be happy with yourself plays a big part as to whether you will do the best you can. Are you enjoying your life? Distract yourself by doing something good for someone else. I find joy in doing something for someone else without letting them know that I did it. Let someone else claim the credit for some idea or something you did.

You may think you don’t have time to help others – but you do! You never have time to do the things you don’t want to do. Attempting to do your best brings out the best in you. It feels good to assist others!

It’s time to stop telling people that you are doing your best, when in your heart you know better. Stop looking for a pat on the back in order to validate your lack of effort as a sincere attempt at doing something extraordinary.

“Perhaps the one thing that is keeping you from achieving all of your goals and living out all of your dreams is your attempt to do your best. You don’t really know what you are truly capable of. None of us do. Doing is exciting. It creates. It breeds accomplishment. Fulfillment. Peace. It has unlimited possibilities. It comes naturally.” ~ Marc Ensign

We must DO more for ourselves and others. The “doing” is what is important. It may not be your best, but then, “What is your best?” I’m sure you have had times when you thought you were doing the best that you could but whatever you were doing was not enough. I would suggest that it “was” the best you could do at that moment in time. Next time, with a similar circumstance, you may very well succeed by doing better.

“It doesn’t always come together in an instant and it’s not as simple as just telling yourself to be more confident, more self-assured or more focused.” ~ Michaela (Founder of www.ForTheCreators.com)

Being your best at something begins with baby steps. Hand a bottle of water to a beggar on the median.

It’s also time to unleash your creativity and live it everyday with passion and an intention to put forth more effort and do more for yourself and others. Doing your best is about you and your relationship to yourself, your family and your friends.

“Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude. Excellence comes not from education, money, ability or connections alone. It comes from a commitment to do the very best with whatever you have available.” ~ Ralph S. Marston Jr.

If you’re not doing your honest best, do “something” different and better. If you are doing your best, celebrate it and enjoy the contentment and joy that follow.

Don’t wait another day. Step out of your comfort zone. Declare a new intention to do more for others. No holding back. Reconstruct a vision of higher standards for yourself. Get out of your own way. No more negativity. Don’t give in to mediocrity. Stay on the right path. No more excuses. Just DO!

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How to Fix a Relationship in 5 Steps

Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD., Guest Author

“Can this relationship be fixed?”

Troubled couples often ask this question in relationship or marriage counseling. Having exhausted all the tools in their toolbox, partners come to therapy as their last resort, feeling rather hopeless.

FIXrelationshipFixing a relationship doesn’t require a personality makeover, but it does take effort and energy to hone your communication skills and create deeper intimacy and connection. These five steps will start you on your way to repair:

1. Face and embrace your differences. ~ Ever know a couple who never seemed to argue, who was the envy of other couples in your circle of friends? They seemed to be the perfect pair. Next thing you know, you’re shocked to hear they’re splitting up.

We see this all the time. Couples who appear the most at peace may not be dealing with their differences. They may look good on the outside, but underneath it all they have a mountain of hurt, anger, resentment, sadness, and fear that they have been unable to share in their relationship.

They may be “pleasers” who avoid conflict at all cost. Or maybe one person controls the relationship and the other submits. Either way, they are not facing and embracing their issues.

2. Practice effective communication skills. ~

• Carve out regular time for dialogue about concerns. State your thoughts in terms of behavior, without judgment, attack, or blame. Be specific, constructive, and positive.

• Use “I” statements to convey your thoughts and feelings. Own your part of the problem. Tell your partner how his or her behavior affects you and why; e.g., “When you left for work without saying goodbye, I worried you might be angry with me.”

• Hear your partner’s story fully. Everyone’s perception is valid, whether or not you agree with it. Listen without interrupting or judging.

• Be curious about your partner’s point of view; e.g., “Help me understand what you mean by …”

• Paraphrase your partner’s thoughts. Affirming that you heard him or her does not mean you agree or disagree. It just means, “I understand and believe that’s the way you see it.”

• Empathize with your partner’s feelings. Feelings are never right or wrong; they’re just feelings. And all of them are genuine. Expressing empathy validates that you heard your partner’s feelings without judgment; e.g., “I understand that’s how it makes you feel.”

• Take your turn. Once your partner feels heard, share your story and ask your partner to validate and empathize with your thoughts and feelings. When people truly feel heard and validated, whether or not they agree, it’s like magic. They automatically feel better. Only then can people problem solve and come to consensus on solutions.

• Put the problem on the “chalkboard,” view it as a team, and resolve the problem. After each partner has had an opportunity to be heard, it is much easier to be rational and work toward solutions. Identify specific actions each person can take to fix his or her portion of the problem.

3. Love your partner the way he or she wants to receive love. ~ Make a list of responses to: “I feel loved when you …” Anything goes—give me flowers, plan a weekend away, bring home my favorite candy bar, initiate sex. Exchange lists. Giving love the way your partner enjoys receiving it is the greatest gift of all. Receiving love the way you enjoy it isn’t bad, either.

4. Create the habit of loving. ~ On holidays, we express our love with gifts and affection. On the other days, we often forget. Consciously doing small acts of love every day creates “love habits”—loving behaviors that become habitual. Practicing love habits grows connection and intimacy. It’s as simple as greeting each other after work every day with a kiss on the lips and a long hug, establishing a regular date night, going to bed together, and planning regular sex dates. When you show your love, you will feel your love.

5. Express gratitude for “the things your partner is supposed to do anyway.” ~ Most people thank their partner when he or she does something special. What if you thanked her for cooking a meal, or him for mowing the lawn? But wait. “Why should I thank my partner for the routine chores?” The answer: “Because it feels good.” Every drop of love you express nurtures and feeds the relationship.

Practicing these five steps will grow your love and connection. Start today. Share this article with your partner and ensure that your relationship lasts a lifetime. It doesn’t happen by accident.

“Love is not about finding the right person, but creating a right relationship. It’s not about how much love you have in the beginning but how much love you build till the end.” —Unknown

Copyright © 2014 by Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD. Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, is a licensed counselor and co-founder of Relationships Work, an innovative therapy practice and online resource center. Together with her husband, Bob, they encourage couples to consciously co-create their relationships in order to achieve a deeper, more intimate connection. You can visit Relationships Work online at: http://www.RelationshipsWork.com. Follow them on Facebook.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

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