Larry James' CelebrateLove.com BLOG

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Staying Close In Separate Beds

Anymore, it is not unusual to find that many married couples often sleep in separate beds. The National Sleep Foundation reported in a 2005 survey that nearly one in four American couples sleep in separate bedrooms or beds.

The reasons include snoring, disruptive sleep, temperature preferences, different sleep schedules or sleep habits. Snoring, farting, moaning and stealing the bedcovers can keep anyone up at night. You probably do it, too. I denied it for years because it didn’t bother me because I was asleep. ;-) With sleep disorders like insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea all too common and on the rise, it is understandable how couples might opt for separate bedrooms.

SeparateBedsWhatever the case may be, the bigger issue is that sleep disturbances due to differences like this can create big relationship problems. Resentment can build. However, couples who genuinely love each other can work through those differences. Open and honest communication is the key. It’s important to avoid being influenced by negative social stigma of separate beds.

Most people believe that for many people sleeping with a partner is very comforting and soothing. Although touch makes us feel good, spooning can increase body heat and make it difficult to stay asleep. But you have to be awake to feel that. There haven’t been many scientific studies about the impact of couples sleeping together. However, experts believe oxytocin, the “love hormone,” is released through touching, including cuddling. According to neurologist Dr. Rachel Salas, assistant medical director at the Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep, increased oxytocin helps the body relax, encourages healing and reduces blood pressure.

Light sleepers may be disrupted if their partner shifts positions throughout the night. For those who need to escape from a thrashing partner or simply need their physical space but still want the security of a partner close by, a larger bed may enable them to sleep together and get a good night’s sleep. If you’re living with a partner who snores, has restless leg syndrome or talks in their sleep, sleeping separately may be the only way to get a good night’s sleep.

Why should a person’s rest be impeded by another person’s own quirks and habits? Truth is, it shouldn’t. Some couples call it “protecting each other’s solitude.” There is no shame in sleeping in separate beds if there are issues that keep one partner or the other from getting a good night’s sleep. Many believe that when a married couple decides to sleep in separate beds, the marriage is in trouble.

There, is of course, the issue of sex. Sex is not only an obvious part of marriage but also an important part of maintaining a healthy marriage. It’s important to develop a morning and nighttime routine so that couples can still work those closeness hours in without sacrificing quality sleep or sexual intimacy. Be sure to stay touchy-feely with each other. Plan your romps between the sheets together. Touch enhances the sense of intimacy and it also has a measurable biological effect. It’s not only important for holding onto the romance – touch is vital to emotional and physical health. Look for other ways to connect outside the bedroom, such as having at least one date night each week, engaging in a hobby or fun activity together. Sleeping in separate beds often has the opposite effect and spices things up, creating a more date-like atmosphere. Your bed, or mine?

As with most things in life, there is one caveat. Sleeping separately is only beneficial if it’s really about your sleep quality – not something more. “If you’re splitting up at night because you’re fighting, or because you’re having sex issues, then it’s going to do more harm than good,” says Susan Heitler, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Denver, Colorado, author of “The Power of Two: Secrets of a Strong and Loving Marriage” and founder of the marriage skills website PowerofTwoMarriage.com.

You might try to fall asleep together in the same bed with the understanding that if one partner disrupts the other’s sleep, that person will slip off to a different room during the night. Be sure your bedroom is sleep friendly. No TV or other distractions. Creating a comfortable bedroom environment is also important. Darkness, a moderate room temperature, and cleanliness all can affect sleep quality.

It’s important to not allow sleeping apart to rob your marriage of its special connection. In other words, sleeping apart can be great if you’re doing it for the right reasons.

BONUS Article: Separate Beds Are Liberating

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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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Understanding Verbal Abuse

Filed under: Abuse (Emotional & Physical) — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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Angela Lambert, Guest Author

Abuse can affect the lives of people regardless of age, gender or social status. Although people most often associate abuse with physical violence, it can come in many different forms including verbal abuse. Because of the nature of verbal abuse, its damaging effects are often underestimated and misunderstood. This can be a problem for people who are the victims of it. In addition, it can make it difficult for people who suspect that a friend or loved one is being verbally abused. To help combat verbal bullying it is important to educate people and raise awareness.

What is Verbal Abuse?

verbalabuse1Verbal abuse is a type of emotional abuse in which a person uses words, body language, or behavior to cause emotional pain or distress to another person. Although it is not physical in nature and does not leave visible bruises, it is just as damaging and can leave an individual with emotional scars and trauma.

With verbal abuse, the abuser uses words as a way to exert control and dominance over the victim. It is a behavior that is often thought of in terms of domestic violence; however, it can occur in places of work, school, etc. Spouses, teachers, employers, girlfriends, boyfriends, or friends can be verbally abusive. When it comes to relationships, it is often a precursor to physical violence.

The Signs of Verbal Abuse

It is important that people recognize when they are being verbally abused. When looking for the signs of verbal abuse, it is necessary to consider the actions of the potential abuser towards the victim. Consistently criticizing or insulting, humiliating, and even ignoring the victim is a clear and obvious sign of verbal abuse. Using words to discount or minimize a person’s experiences or achievements is also a common sign of abuse.

The abuser will often manipulate conversations or the words of the victim, or make the victim feel unworthy or unloved. A verbally abusive person will also blame the abuse on the victim. Dismissing hurtful comments as if they are “no big deal,” or turning them into a joke is another sign of verbal bullying, as is constant negative comments about friends, family or even one’s ethnic group. Withholding words or reactions is also considered a sign.

AbuseThe Effects of Verbal Abuse

When a person is the victim of this type of abuse, he or she is affected in numerous ways. In general, the victim often loses a sense of self; whether that is a sense of self-esteem, independence, peace, or confidence. The individual typically lives in fear of the abuser and what he or she may say or how they react. With children, the effects of verbal abuse can potentially last a lifetime. According to studies by Florida State University, children who are victims of this type of abuse may become adults who are anxiety and depression prone. In addition, they may also tend to grow into adults who have a more negative self-image.

Recovery from Verbal Abuse

The psychological and emotional effects of verbal abuse are severe and can negatively affect many areas of an individual’s life, from their sense of confidence to relationships. To begin the recovery and healing process, people who have been victims of verbal abuse will need to take the proper steps. One of the first steps is to recognize and acknowledge the abuse for what it is. Additionally, a person must be able to place the blame where it belongs, which is on the abuser and not themselves. Often this requires the help of others, and the abused must be willing to seek out help. Help may come in the form of family or friends.

domesticViolenceChildren who are victims of verbal bullying at school should seek out the help of parents or teachers. When the abuse occurs at home, help may come in the form of a teacher or a social worker. In severe cases of abuse of either adults or children, the help of a counselor or therapist is often necessary to aid in the recovery. Depending on the situation, a counselor can also help the victim learn how to set limits and ask for change if the relationship is an ongoing one.

Also, if staying in a relationship with someone who has been verbally abusive, ask that he or she participate in counseling as well. Additionally, support group sessions with other victims of verbal abuse may also prove helpful to the recovery of some. In addition to therapy, there are certain self-help strategies that a person can take to aid their recovery. Keeping a journal to document emotions and thoughts is a positive way to express oneself about the abuse and the recovery process.

Read self-help books on improving self-esteem. Being active and socializing with positive people can also help. It is important for people not to isolate themselves which may encourage depression and stress. By participating in positive activities and meeting new people, a person can make strides towards re-establishing his or her self-esteem and confidence.

BONUS Article: Domestic Violence Sucks!

AngelaLambertCopyright © 2014 – Angela Lambert. Angela Lambert is a Drug and Alcohol Counselor at Morningside Recovery, 3421 Via Oporto, Newport Beach, CA 92663. Visit their Website at: http://www.morningsiderecovery.com/about/

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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.

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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Monday, July 14, 2014

No Excuses!

Filed under: Relationships — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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If you truly have a desire to have your relationship work, you cannot allow yourself to offer excuses.

no-excusesNo excuses!

There are only results or reasons why. The reasons why are the excuses we come up with to avoid taking responsibility for our relationship and to avoid doing something we may be afraid to do and know must be done.

Just do what must be done! What is YOUR hesitation?

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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Friday, July 11, 2014

Encore Article ~ An Affirmation for Letting Go

Filed under: Letting Go — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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Larry’s NOTE: Lately, many of my coaching clients have needed to let go of a relationship. If what you need to let go of is a relationship, this is for you. I wrote this affirmation many years ago when I needed to let go of a troubled relationship. I suggest that you print it and read it the first thing every morning and the last thing at night until you feel you have made the break. I trust that it will assist you for letting go as it did me.

Let-Go-Let-GodI am willing to trust. I know that to the degree I am willing to give up my search for a healthy love relationship, I can have it. I know I can have whatever I am ready and willing to receive. Individual receptivity is everything. Without it, nothing changes. With it, all things are possible. I no longer insist upon my choice.

I know that the only thing I lose when I let go of something I am afraid to live without is the fear itself. I am stronger than anything that frightens me!

I let go of the past, and I am free to think clearly and positively in the present. I am not my past.

Letting go is the natural release which always follows the realization that holding on is an energy drain and it hurts. Letting go happens effortlessly when there is no other choice. Letting go does not mean giving up.

LoveNote… A life without love in it is like a heap of ashes upon a deserted hearth — with the fire dead, the laughter stilled, and the light extinguished. – Frank P. Tebbetts

Letting go is a journey that never ends. Never. It only begins — over and over again — each time I can glimpse something higher than my own painful certainty over who I think I am. There is always something higher; a life beyond the limits of my present sight.

To see what is farther I must be willing to lift my eyes from their present point of focus. Release always follows revelation and real revelation is always a glimpse of something that was only just out of sight.

I know that stress in my love relationship exists because I insist! What I resist, persists. I am tied to whatever I avoid.

LoveNote… The heart loves, but moods have no loyalty. Moods should be heard but never danced to. – Hugh Prather

It is a mistaken belief that I must push my love relationship in the direction I choose that keeps me in a strained and unhappy relationship with it. Reality has its own effortless course, and I can either embrace its way or struggle endlessly with mine.

I do not need power to flow.

I let go of that part of myself that is certain it is better to suffer and feel like someone than it is to just let go and quietly be no one. I give birth to a new me that never has to hold on to anything because it is already everything.

I dare to walk away from all of the familiar but useless mental and emotional relationships that give me a temporary but unsatisfactory sense of self. My true identity is calling me and to hear it I must be willing to endure, for as long as necessary, the fear of self-uncertainty.

This form of seeming self-abandonment eventually turns into my greatest pleasure as it becomes increasingly evident that the only thing certain about fear is that it will always compromise me. When it comes to who I really am, there is no compromise.

Let go of the past. The past is yesterday. It is irretrievable. When you relate to the past, you relate to no one or any thing. You are literally talking to yourself. No one else is listening. You have already heard all you have to say about that, so, let go.

A Course in Miracles says, “You cannot really not let go what has already gone. It must be, therefore, that you are maintaining the illusion that it has not gone because you think it serves some purpose that you want fulfilled.”

It is certifiable insanity to conjure up my own reality based on the past and relate to it, rather than to relate to the present which is the only reality.

LoveNote… Relationships are part of a vast plan for our enlightenment, the Holy Spirit’s blueprint by which each individual soul is led to greater awareness and expanded love. Relationships are the Holy Spirit’s laboratories in which he brings together people who have the maximal opportunity for mutual growth. – Marianne Williamson

I say goodbye to the past and hello to the present.

I am enthusiastic about who I am becoming! I know that no one sincerely asks for a new life until they are thoroughly dissatisfied with the old one. I am and I let go. When I allow myself to let go of what is old, I stay true to what is new.

I believe that as with all insight, higher understanding itself contains not only the instructions I must follow, but the strength I will need to carry them out.

Starting life over again is the key to a new me. I see the beauty and significance of starting over – over and over and over. Every present moment is always new and new is always right now! The new dies to the ever-new in an endless celebration of Life.

This is it!

I live in the present. I never let the past dictate the direction of the present moment. I give my best to my endeavors.

What lies ahead for me can only be good.

True peace and harmony are a part of who I am.

I have come to the realization that what is possible for me to become only truly changes when I am willing to see what is impossible for me to continue being.

My true nature is already fully independent and flying freely. I have found my wings.

I let go and let God. And so it is.

Thank you, Father!

LoveNote… He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is Love. – I John 4:8

BONUS Articles:See You At the Beach!
At the Beach. . . Alone Again

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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Monday, July 7, 2014

Rewind to the Good Times!

Happily ever after is complicated. Happy weddings are a dime a dozen, however, happy marriages are much more rare and therefore more precious than gold.

It’s important to think to the future, say, 50 years down the road and wonder if the person you have chosen – with things sagging and the wrinkles more predominant, etc., etc., – is this someone you will still be excited to be with and love? Or will you say to yourself, “What the hell was I thinking?”

RewindtoGoodTimesI have performed hundreds of wedding ceremonies and often I wonder what things will be like for them. It’s exciting to plan for your wedding together, but how many couples really know what they are getting into?

You stand hand-in-hand at your wedding with the excitement of the moment, smiling radiantly, facing your guests as you walk out into the world together and into a completely different commitment; one that has you promise to work together, come what may and no matter what. And suddenly the world has somehow shifted. All at once everything looks different and it is. You both get that marriage is not a back up plan to diminish your loneliness.

Marriage is something most people go into completely unaware of what they are in for. Hmmm. Kinda like life. Some couples – who experience the deep love that is necessary for marriage to thrive – make it. Some give up when they’ve been together for a while because they lose the excitement that was present on their wedding day.

You are not suppose to stop working on your relationship once you get married! They think that it will last. AND it can… and it takes lots of work, and it’s different. And I’m not sure most couples grasp how much things will change. (Especially after the kids show up.) Is “together forever” in the cards? Or is your marriage founded on the fantasy of forever together and based on an illusion of how you think it should be?

I heard a bride whose ceremony I performed several years ago say, “If you can survive the stresses of a wedding, you can survive anything… marriage should be a snap!” Then she laughed and admitted to me that there have been many ups and downs. She told me that one thing she learned from her mother was when issues surfaced it is important to never let too much time go by before you talk about how to make it all better. I agree. Never let issues marinate in your anger and disappointment. That is a recipe for disaster.

Marriage isn’t always a snap. It depends on the couple. Have they equally considered the benefits? Have they seriously considered the consequences of marriage. Their actions and decisions in their marriage are like that. They all have consequences.

It’s easy to make a wedding happy. You just throw a ton of money and liquor at it. A happy marriage is more difficult to make happy because if you throw a lot of money and liquor at it, it often makes things much worse.

I’m thinking that couples don’t often talk about the things that matter in a marriage. When you don’t talk, you can lose that awesome connection you had when you were first together.

So… when your togetherness doesn’t feel like the excitement you experienced on your wedding day, what can you do?

There is a line in my wedding ceremony that says, “Never stop doing the things that brought you together in the first place!” Can you remember how to have fun together?

Part of the solution is to rewind to the good times. Stop and think about the things you did that attracted you to each other. Remember that “feeling?” You can experience that feeling again and regain the closeness that connected you emotionally. And you both need to accept responsibility for what happens next.

How often do you tell each other how much you really care? Do you go to sleep at the same time? Research shows that 94% of couples that snuggle in bed say they are happier together. Do you work together to get things done around the house? Nowhere is it written that housework is the woman’s job! Do you kiss often or is that something you think only newlyweds do? How often do you say, “I love you,” (out loud) to each other. Do you still light candles, put on some romantic music and have a quiet evening together? That can often bring back those loving feelings.

Do you still have weekly dates and have FUN together? Do you share your feelings with one another? Do you listen – really listen – to your partner? Do you show appreciation and give your partner praise? Do you treat your spouse with respect and kindness” Do you often hear, “Not tonight, I’m too tired,” or “I have a headache?” Resolve: No more fake headaches. I seriously doubt that you used that lame excuse when you were first together. Maybe you need a little late night “wake me up,” if you know what I mean. These behaviors have natural consequences.

“Just as weeding and watering is essential to a healthy garden, taking time to communicate and listen to your partner is critical if you want your relationship to thrive.” ~ Sara Eckel

Being married has advantages. For well over a century, researchers have known that married people are generally better off than their unmarried counterparts. As early as 1897, sociologist Emile Durkheim was theorizing about why married adults have lower suicide rates than unmarried adults. In a recent survey David Ribar notes that links between marriage and better health in children and adults “have been documented in hundreds of quantitative studies covering different time periods and different countries.”

AND to have a happy and successful marriage takes work! Lots of working together. Lots of work! Are you both on the same page? Are you putting forth the effort to make your partnership really work? How would your life together be different if you did?

That might be a great topic for conversation sometime soon!

BONUS Articles: The Secret to Staying in Love

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, July 3, 2014

A Red Rose Bud For Her Pillow…

Filed under: Relationships,Romance — Larry James @ 9:00 am
Tags: , ,

Some men just don’t get it! They say they love their partner, but rarely surprise her with something romantic. Taking the time to stop by a card or flower shop to do more than tell her how much you care without words is a great idea. A flower is a beautiful way to convey unspoken meaning.

Women love surprises. Especially the ones that show that you were thinking about her and that you had to go a little out of your way to make it happen.

RedRoseBudSo… guys! Listen up! If you are little bankrupt in the romance department it’s time you learned that a single red rose bud means only one thing. It means, “I Love you!” Red roses are given to those who you want to show love and passion and people for whom you have great respect. The shade of the red has a meaning as well. Bright red means Love.

So if you really love her, here is your assignment for tonight or certainly no later than tomorrow night. Stop by a flower shop, pick out the most perfect red rose bud available, buy it and attach a small note telling her that you were thinking about her today and express how much you really love her. Make sure it has one of those little water holders around the end of the stem to keep it fresh. Sneak it into the house and display it on her pillow. Plan to go to bed at the same time. Wait for its discovery.

It’s high time we work a little harder to put more romance in our relationships. Don’t wait until you made a boo-boo to give her flowers, do it for no reason other than you love her and think she is special. It’s one thing to say, “I love you,” and quite another to demonstrate your love in special ways. Plan to do something out of the ordinary that is especially romantic for each other at least once each week.

Short of ideas? There are a multitude of romantic ideas on this blog. Click here for many, many more.

BONUS Article: Rose to the Occasion…

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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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Want a Grrreat Relationship? Ya Gotta Work it!

Happily-ever-after is a myth! Let’s begin there.

It’s a dangerous fantasy to think that marriage really means you get to be happy forever. Every couple has ups and downs. We have good days and some not so good days. Expecting perfection in a marriage or a partner is a step in the wrong direction. Unfulfilled expectations always cause problems. Having expectations in our culture is expected. We are brought up that way.

loveYOUHaving great expectations sounds great however when the expectation is unfulfilled, we bitch, we moan, we become disappointed. That is a problem for most people. It seems that we require so much more from a relationship than people did in the past. The expectations we have about relationships are for the most part unrealistic. Alcoholics Anonymous calls expectations premeditated resentments.

As we live longer, “til death us do part” is getting to be tall order. Sometimes we think marriage is complicated – at other times, it seems ridiculously easy.

The happiest couples have a clear sense of purpose and passion in their relationships and also outside of their relationships. It’s important to know that a marriage that runs on multiple tracks makes for a more satisfied spouse who gets to have it both ways – a committed marriage and personal adventures in uncharted territory.

“Falling in love is amazing! The excitement of meeting someone new brings out the best in all of us; the journey ahead feels like an open road full of possibility … but, then something happens: Either the relationship starts to feel stale, or perhaps money issues, kids, or trying to figure out a comfortable work-life balance comes into play. Whatever the cause, the initial spark dims or goes out altogether, and the future of your relationship becomes a long and winding road, full of pit stops and flat tires.” ~ Harville Hendrix (http://www.yourtango.com/experts/harville-hendrix/how-stop-your-marriage-falling-apart-expert)

Some people leave relationships because it just takes too much effort to keep it together. That usually means that one partner has given up and has refused to work with their partner on the relationship.

How do you keep a relationship together when it feels like it’s falling apart? Contrary to popular belief, being in a relationship is not a 50/50 percent proposition, it is 100/100 percent or it will never work.

“You have to respect each other and demonstrate it. Find something you love to do together. A few years ago we started kayaking, and we just bought bikes. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but you need to stay connected. Most of all, treasure each other.” ~ Paul Babcock, who has been married to his wife, Marina, for 32 years

When someone causes you hurt and pain and worry, it’s up to you to see this as red flags.

Make love often! Maintain that sexual energy you had when you first met. Never let it go. That takes work too.

workitGive up being right! You should now have to win every disagreement. In my many years as a relationship coach, some the things that couples fight over are downright ridiculous. Remember that all those “little” things that you have disagreements about, if you don’t talk about them they escalate and often grow into unmanageable issues that can destroy a marriage. Which brings me to the next point.

Communicate! Learn to talk about anything and everything, all the time – that is relevant to your relationship. Surrender to your best judgement. Most people know what they should do… just do it.

Practice the art of forgiveness. It is an art. It takes practice. Remember that forgive and forget is also a myth. If you’re smart when you remember, you must also remember that you’ve already handled that and you need to let it go. Flexibility is always an important component of a long-term marriage. There is “nothing” that cannot be forgiven. Nothing! Saying, “I’m sorry,” even if you would rather not say it works wonders.

“Showing compassion definitely makes spouses behave better. And the ability to bounce back from strife is the real secret that makes marriages last forever.” ~ Iris Krasnow

R-E-S-P-E-C-T for your partner is mandatory if you want your relationship to work. No respect… no sex. People who are always pissed off at each other seldom feel like making love. Regain respect and make love often! Maintain that sexual energy you had when you first met. “Eye contact during sex reinforces the love-making aspect of sex,” says sex expert Ian Kerner, Ph.D. “It also enhances the emotional intensity and sense of intimacy.” Never let go of the intimacy you share. That takes work too.

Relationships are something that need to be worked on all the time, not only when they are broken and need to be fixed. Never take each other for granted. What you take together… disappears! The importance of supporting each other as individuals with ideas, dreams and goals of our own is paramount.

Kids, dual careers, a home to maintain, family to deal with, and friendships to sustain and you have a perfect recipe for how couples grow apart. You must help keep your relationship strong by working together. Two words spouses don’t hear often enough from one another: “Thank you!”

Putting some of these ideas to work will help you to avoid boredom which will keep your marriage on track.

CAUTION: Do not ever mention the word DIVORCE in jest or otherwise unless you are ready to leave. Threats do not work. They only make things worst.

Respect. The couple with high hopes demonstrates respect for each other. When one spoke, the other actively listened. They demonstrated this by looking at the other, waiting for each other to finish speaking and often referring to what the other had said.

When things get rocky… never be afraid to seek help from a relationship coach. Sometimes it’s important to have someone who will listen to talk to.

BONUS Articles: 30 Ways to Improve Your Relationship
Forgiveness… What’s it For?
The Truth About Relationship Expectations

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, June 25, 2014

Who Pushes YOUR Buttons?

Filed under: Relationships — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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It does not matter who you are… eventually someone is going to push your buttons!

Sometimes it’s on purpose and at other times, they may have caught you in a place where it just hit you the wrong way.

I used to lash out at people in my younger days. My mind would begin forming zingers to launch to get even. I soon realized that that didn’t work and that I was the one who suffered. It took a lot of restraint and self-awareness to deal with button-pushing in a healthy, positive way.

ButtonPusher2Now, I just say to myself, “You can’t get my goat if you don’t know where it’s tied up,” and move on to what’s next.

“We are all each other’s teachers, and in all our relationships – from family to colleagues to friends to romantic partners – there are going to be times when our buttons get pushed.” ~ Christine Hassler

Barrie Davenport once said, “The benefits of allowing a button to be pushed without anger or retribution far outweigh the momentary pleasure of lettin’ em have it.”

I agree, however it took me years to figure that out. I had to figure out what was behind my self-imposed fear that caused me to react instead of respond. I finally decided that allowing my buttons to be pushed was an energy drain. It was a distraction; a distraction I would not afford. Unfortunately it was someone that I was very close to. She was getting under my skin. It was dragging me down and bringing out me at my worst. I had to deflect her misplaced anger, although this was challenging. I had to learn that my buttons were MY buttons and she had no right to push them. It was a tough learning curve.

I eventually walked away from the relationship once I viewed her button-pushing as an opportunity for my own self-awareness, healing, honesty, and growth. I had to learn to love her from a distance. From my now perspective, it was a wise choice.

Everything external is internal. A tough lesson to learn. When the button pushing begins, we should examine “our own feelings and attitudes,” not just theirs. This means that if something outside of yourself is bothering you, for example, someone else’s behavior, then you have that within you as well. Duh!! I stopped judging her and focused on me – how could I be okay with the button pushing and not get wrapped up in a reaction? I learned to stop, take a slow, deep breath, I would close my eyes and (it may sound silly) imagine myself in a happy place far removed from what was going on. Next, I would go somewhere quiet and regroup.

“Projection always hides a feeling you don’t want to look at. If you examine any negative trait you insist is present in another person, you will find that same trait hiding in yourself. The more you deny this trait, the more strongly you will have to project it.” ~ Dr. Deepak Chopra

Dennis Merritt Jones observed: “The irony is – if Chopra is right – we can run but we can’t hide from ourselves. By means of the law of attraction these people will continue to show up in our lives until we learn the lesson. The sad part is many people will go to their grave having never learned the lesson because they are not willing to be honest with themselves by exploring their own inner emotional landscape.

It takes courage and compassion to be willing to see a reflection of ourselves in those who we don’t like and mindfully respond rather than react to them. I am reminded of what one of my early spiritual mentors would say whenever I became chafed and overreacted to what he was saying: “While I may push your buttons, I didn’t install them – you did.” The good news is, with mindfulness, one can skillfully uninstall those buttons. But, the first step is to become aware they are there. When another person “pushes our buttons” perhaps the gift they offer us is an invitation to practice tolerance, non-judgement or patience with ourselves.”

The woman I walked away from taught me many valuable lessons for which I am now grateful. Forgiveness was the key to maintaining a friendship with her after I walked away.

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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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Do You and Your Partner Go to Bed at the Same Time?

Filed under: Relationships — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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Remember the beginning of your relationship, when you couldn’t wait to go to bed with each other to make love?

The one thing distinguishing a good marriage is that couples go to sleep with each other and wake up with each other. When partners don’t go to bed at the same time, they miss a critical time for connecting. This pattern is the equivalent of a huge lost opportunity for sustaining and nurturing your partnership. The bedroom should be used for sleeping, sexual intimacy, or even pillow talk. Couple who do this are more relaxed with each other, feel closer, and sleep better.

Go2BedTogether“Getting into bed together allows us to cuddle and share skin-to-skin contact, which releases oxytocin, lowers anxiety and blood pressure, increases immune function, and helps to alleviate pain. It provides a quiet time and space to talk about your days, your stresses, your joys, and your relationship. It provides a regular opportunity for physical intimacy to happen — whether that means sex or just kissing, cuddling, scratching each other’s backs, and feeling each other’s embrace. And it sets you both up for getting a great night’s sleep, which leaves you feeling more refreshed and able to continue to nurture your intimate bond tomorrow.” ~ Lindsey Hoskins

With our busy lives, it is often a struggle to find space in our schedules for quality one-on-one time together. Happy couples resist the temptation to go to bed at different times. They go to bed at the same time, even if one partner wakes up later to do things while their partner sleeps. And when their skins touch it still causes each of them to tingle and unless one or both are completely exhausted to often feel sexually excited.

Going to bed together at the same time is not always about sex. Going to bed with your partner is not just about sleeping either; it is also about bonding with the most important person in my life. Lying side-by-side, in the dark, facing each other is a great time to talk about your day, the children, etc. I can recall when I was about 12, my parents would go to bed together and I could hear my parents talking for 30 minutes to an hour. I would often fall asleep before they stopped talking. This was their time to cuddle and communicate.

In some of my coaching sessions with couples, often one will say that after their partner goes to bed is the only peaceful time to herself to read a book or watch TV. That is after her husband and kids have gone to bed. When one partner is an early bird and the other a night owl this can be a potential issue. It’s important to reach agreement on matters such as this. If your partner is a night owl you may want to establish a new routine that you can both agree on. Set aside several nights each week to hit the sack together. Be careful not to start laying guilt trips on your partner if they choose to stay up longer than you.

In another coaching session, the husband was having an affair with his computer. No porn, just surfing and playing games until the early hours of the morning. It almost ruined his marriage. I encouraged his to surf the net for a limited time and at an earlier time in the evening and go to bed with his wife. He did. And about 30 days later I received a glowing e-mail of thanks from his wife. He got his relationship back.

Suggestion: Dump the TV from the bedroom. TV demands that you focus on the screen and not each other. TV in the bedroom pretty much puts a damper on everything.

Caution: Be careful not to use going to bed at different times as an avoidance tactic. If there are issues in your relationship and you find yourself drifting away from your partner, it may be time to: 1. Have a talk, 2. Decide to make some new choices about going to bed together at the same time and 3. Get relationship coaching.

It’s very special to end your day with the one you love. Why? Because it’s a gift that can only be shared with your spouse. Make it a priority to use this time to be close and to share special moments.

If you find yourself being distracted from your relationship by not going to bed together, you may need to ask yourself, “What am I avoiding with this behavior?” Just as important, ask yourself, “What am I missing out on by not going to bed with my spouse?” Most married couples with children make their kids have a bedtime to help them function better. Why not give yourself the same opportunity? I guarantee it will change your relationship for the better.

BONUS Article: The Importance of Going to Bed Together

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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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Are You Settling For Less Than You Deserve?

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

Virginia Clark, Guest Author

There’s a big difference between being accommodating and ignoring your needs.

Being single can be frustrating. It can make us feel lonely and sad as we watch our friends pair up and settle down. It might make us feel hopeless and wonder if it will ever be our turn. But that’s no reason to settle for a relationship that isn’t giving what you want or what you deserve.

NeverSettleSettling for less is an epidemic with women. We will settle for less than we deserve in our careers, in our friendships, and most importantly, in our relationships. It happens so often when we’re dating, and this inevitably results in too much time and energy spent on the wrong man. We end up feeling unsatisfied and far from the way we expected love to feel.

Why do we settle for less? It starts young. As children most of us were instilled with the sense that we’re not good enough; that somehow we’re not worthy of having what we want most: someone to love us. These beliefs create a deep fear in us as adults—fear that we’ll end up loveless and doomed to die alone. Fear makes us lower our standards and accept whatever a man is willing to give, even if it’s much less than we deserve.

How do we know that we’re settling for less? It’s simple. If the love we’re experiencing doesn’t feel good, we’re not getting what we should. Too often we get accustomed to our relationships not feeling right. We become immune to the drama, the pain. We don’t recognize that we don’t feel safe or respected. We don’t know what we’re missing because we’ve never had it. So feeling bad in love ends up feeling normal.

“You may have to kiss a few frogs… But never settle! You are what you are willing to settle for!” ~ Larry James

There’s a song by The Everly Brothers called “Love Hurts,” which strikes a chord for many. We believe that pain is the price we pay for loving someone. It seems romantic, but it’s really a lie. What should hurt is rejection, being disrespected, or being taken for granted.
Love actually feels happy, fulfilling, and satisfying. Love heals us. True love is one of life’s greatest pleasures. So if we’re not feeling that way, we’re settling for less than we deserve.

What does settling for less in love look like? Here are some major mistakes we make when we’re looking for love:

1. We don’t take time to find “The One.” ~ In our sense of urgency to find love we grab the man who seems available now. Common sense and good judgment fly out the window as we try to make him fit our image of “Mr. Right”. We make excuses for his bad behavior. For example, because he’s busy we allow him to be aloof and unavailable. Because he’s afraid of commitment, we work extra hard for him to trust and accept us. Because he has intimacy issues we accept that he can’t love us fully or as much as we love him.

NeverSettle2. We lower our standards. ~ We all want romance, to be wooed, and pursued. But often, we end up doing the chasing, feeling more like his buddy than his girlfriend. We make the lack of attention and care OK when it’s not. For example, when he wants to hang out and not go out. When he doesn’t call on time. When his future plans never materialize.

3. We lose ourselves keeping him happy. ~ How often have we walked on eggshells, afraid to disturb his “moods”? How often have we not asked for what we want because we’ll seem too demanding? How often have we neglected our boundaries to keep the peace? We go out of our way to make things easy, and in the process lose our self-respect and destroy our confidence.

So how do we stop settling for less than we deserve? By appreciating ourselves as the wonderful women we are. By knowing our value and our worth as women. By honoring ourselves in our relationships with men. Only then can we have the love we’ve always dreamed of, the love we deserve.

Copyright © 2014 – Virginia Clark. Virginia has coached hundreds of woman by helping them to uncover their blocks to love and marriage. She is the author of “It’s Never too Late to Marry.” With over 14 years of experience as a successful Certified Hypnotherapist, she is an expert on the power of the subconscious mind and it s ability to transform one s love life. You can find out more at www.ItsNeverTooLateToMarry.com

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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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