Larry James' CelebrateLove.com BLOG

Thursday, December 6, 2018

5 Quick Tips to De-Stress During Holiday Time!

Filed under: Guest Authors,Holidays,Relationships — Larry James @ 2:26 am
Tags: ,

Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, Guest Author

Relax2.jpegWho said, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year?” Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, the holidays are stressful.

When we experience stress, our bodies react by setting off our “fight-or-flight” mechanism. The fight-or-flight response is a physiological reaction that served to alert us to danger in caveman days.

When we perceive an attack, our body’s alarm system goes off. Adrenaline is pumped through our body and prepares us to either fight off the attack or flee from it. When activated, our blood pressure increases and rushes to our muscles, awareness intensifies, eyesight sharpens, pupils dilate, impulses quicken. We are physically and mentally preparing to meet the perceived threat. Once that threat is over our bodies relax and go back to a state of calm.

In this day and age, we still have this mechanism but the “threats” – rush hour, a deadline on a project, a fight with our spouse, being overworked – don’t necessarily stop. Many people end up in a chronic fight-or-flight state. The accumulation of stress hormones ends up causing physiological damage to our bodies in the form of illnesses like high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, and depression, to name just a few.

Having taught Stress Management courses years ago, I learned two types of stress exist: Distress and Eustress. We all know what Distress is, but Eustress was something new to me.

Eustress is the kind of stress we experience around the “good” events that happen in our lives: buying a new house, getting married, having a baby, celebrating holidays.

Positive changes in our lives create stress, just like negative ones. The difference is: When we experience Distress, it’s likely we will remain in a stressed state. With Eustress, we go through the positive event and then return to a state of equilibrium.

Whatever type of stress you experience, but especially with Distress, it is vital for your mental, emotional and physical health to have an awareness of how stress affects you and take action to decrease it.

I’d like to share some quick and practical steps you can take to make this holiday season as stress-free as possible.

Here are 5 quick tips to keep your cool during the holidays.

1. Become more mindful about how stress is showing up for you. – All of us are so busy, especially at this time of year, we don’t stop to pause, to breathe, to take note of the state of our bodies and minds.

Creating more awareness of our specific sources of stress allows us to make changes, even if they are small. It’s easy to get caught up focusing on all the things we can’t control and sink into victimhood.

Take a moment during the day and before you go to bed to think about your level of stress. Ask yourself where the stress is coming from – not enough sleep, too much to do, feeling disconnected from your partner.

Then ask yourself what you can do to decrease these stressors. For example, plan to go to bed earlier, ask yourself what tasks you can delegate or postpone, do connecting things with your partner. Little changes can make a big difference.

2. Do 10-15 minutes of stress management each day. – It could be doing a meditation or guided imagery; listening to soothing music; deep breathing; progressive muscle relaxation; or aromatherapy. Even 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference. You can find these techniques online or in apps. The two apps we love are Calm and Insight Timer. Check them out.

3. Focus on what you can control. – Consciously think about the areas where you do have control and how can you decrease your stress. Examples would be:

• Order gifts online instead of going to the stores.
• Buy groceries online and have them delivered.
• Don’t cook everything from scratch.
• Ask others to bring a dish if you are hosting dinner.
• Say no when others ask you to do something extra.

4. Turn off your devices. – The constant noise we live with from devices is like never before. We rarely experience quiet anymore. The pinging of messages or emails that come in, the “bad” news that is constantly playing on TV 24/7, the gadgets we have all around us keep us stressed and put us in a continual fight-or-flight mode. Ask your family to do the same, especially at meal time.

5. Lower your expectations. – Life isn’t perfect. Anticipate that something will go wrong. Picture what stresses you out the most. Ask yourself, “And what if that did happen; then what…?” Keep playing out that line of thought until you determine the worst-case scenario. It’s not usually as bad as you think. For instance:

• “What if our dog ate the turkey?”
• “I wouldn’t have any food to serve my guests.”
• “And then what…?”
• “I’d order in Chinese food or pizza and it would be a Thanksgiving we’d never forget.”

Bonus Tip: Connect with your partner every day. – At times of stress we may get so focused on what needs to get done that we ignore our relationships. Be mindful of your partner and take a few minutes each day to check-in with each other. Share how you are feeling. Ask your partner to “just sit and listen.” Venting can be very helpful. It makes you feel you are not alone or isolated with your stressors.

Give your partner a 10-second hug every morning and every night. (10 seconds is longer than you think.) You will feel more connected and more relaxed.

header_block_resized.png © Copyright 2018 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, therapist in Owings Mills, Maryland. 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.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ comment 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, September 28, 2018

Who Has the Power in Your Relationship?

Filed under: Guest Authors,Relationships — Larry James @ 10:30 am

Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, Guest Author

When it comes to dealing with conflict, it’s vital to understand how power affects your partnership dynamics. Dealing with differences should be a negotiation not a power play. Want to know who’s got the power in your relationship?

When I grew up it was clear that my dad had the power in my parents’ relationship. Dad was “in charge” – dad had the important career; dad provided the sole financial support; dad made the big decisions. There was no conflict because whatever dad wanted, he got. Part of that was generational, but the other part was the dynamic created between my parents.

The balance of power in your parents’ relationship might not be something you think about every day. Yet it very much influences how you go through the world, at work, in your family, and in your marriage or relationship.

Before the ’60s, it was the norm that men in relationships had the power; women were supposed to “surrender” their power to their husbands, if they were to be good wives. So glad that’s not how it is today.

The women’s movement changed all that. In the 1970s, as women demanded social, political and occupational rights, the power in marriages began to shift. More women went to work, invested in their careers, and postponed having children. It became acceptable for men to stay home with kids and for women be the primary breadwinner. Women stopped marrying because they “needed” to get married; instead, they married if they “wanted” to.

Today, cultural norms have changed and become much broader. These days the balance of power is variable among couples, based more on their personalities and what they learned in their families of origin. Along with this, power in relationships has shifted.

What exactly is power in relationships?

The elements of control, authority and influence are key. There can be a predominance of pervasive power throughout the entire relationship, or there can be varying power dynamics based on different issues.

High conflict couples may jockey for power. Healthy couples create more of a balance of power. They discuss issues together, work as a team instead of individually, and make decisions using a collaborative approach. They understand whatever they do affects their partner, so decisions are filtered through the marriage.

Assess power in relationships

To asses who has the power in your relationship, print this page, then ask yourself and write down your answers to the following questions.

If your partner is willing to do this too, it would make for an interesting discussion to see where your answers match and where they differ. It’s all about perception.

Money

•  Who makes the big financial decisions?
•  Who makes day-to-day money decisions?
•  Do you make decisions individually or as a team?
•  Do you have joint or separate bank accounts?
•  Who pays the bills and is responsible for the flow of income and expenses?
•  Who decides how and where to invest money?

Career

•  Who works?
•  Whose career is more important?
•  Who earns more money?
•  If income is uneven or one person stays home with children, who does the money belong to? Does this influence how financial decisions are made?
•  Who leaves work if the children are sick?

Sex

•  Who initiates sex more?
•  Whose desire for sex is greater?
•  Who turns down sex more often?
•  Whose pleasure is more important in the bedroom, or is there a healthy balance?
•  Who is responsible for and uses birth control?

Children

•  Who decided when and how many children to have?
•  Who does more of the discipline?
•  Who makes decisions about the children’s school, activities, sports?
•  Who creates household rules? – bedtime, allowance, etc.
•  Who makes decisions about meals?
•  Who does homework?
•  Who talks to the children’s teachers and goes to school conferences?

Communication

•  Who initiates conversation more?
•  Who brings up difficult issues that need to be discussed?
•  Who speaks first?
•  Who listens to the other?
•  Who starts conflict?
•  Who ends conflict?
•  Is the result of conflict win-lose or win-win?

Household

•  Who decides on décor?
•  Who cleans?
•  Is there a balanced division of labor?
•  Who decides whether to pay for household cleaning or do it yourself?
•  Who decides on the type of house you live in?

Social life

•  Who makes plans with friends and extended family?
•  Who finds the babysitter?
•  Who decides which friends you will go out with?

These questions should get you started thinking about who has the power in your relationship. After you have answered these, ask yourself:

  • What did I learn about the balance of power in my relationship from my responses?
  • Is there a predominance of power in our relationship?
  • Do we divide up power based on issues?

Now for the biggest question:

Am I satisfied with the way the balance of power is in our relationship?

There is no right or wrong about power in relationships (except for abuse). If you are satisfied, that’s great! If not, have a dialogue with your partner to open up the conversation. Be assertive about the changes you would like to see. It’s not easy to make these changes, but it is possible with practice and perseverance.

header_block_resized.png © Copyright 2018 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, therapist in Owings Mills, Maryland. 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.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ comment 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, August 23, 2015

It’s Not WHAT You Say, But HOW You Say It!!!

Kathleen Thoren, Guest Author

Sound too Old School? Perhaps.

What has made this saying stick around for so long? Because its true and powerful!

REL-HowUsayITBut wait a minute! If what we say is true, why does it matter HOW it’s said? Truth is truth!

It’s human nature to go into defensive mode if one feels they are being attacked. No matter how true your words may be, when words feel like weapons, the other person will automatically be ready to fight or retreat.

Caution! HOW you say something can change its entire meaning. And when you are stressed, HOW you say something matters even more. At these times, turn yourself into an “Investigator” instead of a “Judge” by using the phrase “Isn’t That Interesting”. This changes your perspective and focus from judge of who is right and wrong to INVESTIGATOR of facts and feelings.

Investigators ask questions to broaden understanding, learn, clarify, and absorb another person’s point of view – without necessarily agreeing with it.

So, if we use excellent skills such as asking questions, listening, exploring possibilities and being open to change, then we’re communicating effectively, right?

Again, not so fast! Check out your non-verbal cues and vocal inflections. Is your body language and intonation congruent with your words?

LoveHow to Communicate More Effectively

Ask Questions… with curiosity and calm VS with accusation and agitation

Listen… with eye contact and acknowledging “uh-huh’s” VS with a frown and suspicion

Explore New Ideas… with courage and openness VS with negativity and “sighs” of dismay

Offer Suggestions… with encouragement and hope VS emotionally aloof impatience

Share Your Feelings… with honesty and confidence VS with hostility or wishy-washiness.

Take responsibility for your feelings/reactions. You do not want to ignore your first reactive thoughts and feelings. Even though they may not be helpful for communication in the heat of the moment, they are very important to address later in a safe environment alone or with a trusted friend or mentor.

Give these tools a try and we believe they will improve your communication with those in your life and create a happier atmosphere for you and them.

BONUS Articles: Confrontation is Not a 4-Letter Word
Guys! Know When to Zip Your Lip!
You Cannot Not Talk…
Say Something…

KathleenThorenCopyright © 2015 by Kathleen Thoren. With an MA in Counseling, Kathleen Thoren has worked with clients individually and in groups through her private practice in Tempe, AZ. For 22 years as a relationship specialist, she helps people break free from what keeps them from experiencing happy, harmonious relationships and the life they want. Visit Kathleen’s Facebook page and Website.

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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.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ 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
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Sunday, July 26, 2015

13 Ways to Keep Snoring From Ruining Your Relationship

Rosemary West, Guest Author

Is snoring ruining your life?

Being kept awake all night by the sounds of a bull moose caught in a lawn mower can drive you crazy. An occasional night on the couch may not be a big deal. But when the snoring goes on and on, all night long, night after night, people get desperate. Around the world, the spouses of snorers have resorted to separate bedrooms, divorce, and even murder.

REL-snoringSleep deprivation has serious physical and mental repercussions. It can lead to memory loss, poor judgment, reduced cognitive functioning, heart disease, high blood pressure, loss of sex drive, depression, premature aging, weight gain, worsening of existing medical problems, and a shortened life span.

It isn’t just the snorer’s spouse who is getting hurt. Snorers’ sleep cycles are often disrupted, and they may be waking up many times during the night, even when they are not consciously aware of what is happening. They experience all the same harmful effects of sleep deprivation as their spouses. Additionally, snorers may suffer from sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening condition in which breathing stops for brief periods during sleep, and then restarts, often with a loud choking or snorting sound.

Snoring is caused by restrictions or obstructions to the flow of air to the mouth and nose. Common causes are poor muscle tone of the throat and tongue, bulky throat tissue resulting from weight gain, excessive muscle relaxation due to drugs or alcohol, and the underlying structure of an individual’s jaw and airways.

There is hope. In many cases, snoring can be reduced or stopped altogether. Here are some of the approaches suggested by sleep experts.

1. Change your sleep position. Snoring is more likely to occur if you sleep on your back, because this position worsens the effect of relaxed tongue and throat muscles. A body pillow may make it easier to sleep on your side. Sewing a tennis ball or other uncomfortable object to the back of your sleep shirt will discourage rolling into the wrong position during the night.

2. A neck support pillow may reposition your head and neck so that the throat can stay open.

3.Avoid alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol acts as a muscle relaxant, making it more likely your jaw will drop open while your tongue and throat sag.

4. Lose weight. Dropping just 10-15 pounds can make a huge difference in the amount of excess tissue in the throat.

image046.jpg5. Open your nasal passages. Congestion or a narrow nasal cavity may be blocking your air flow. A steamy shower, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CYTLM84/celebratelovecom, or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004V31FPG/celebratelovecom may improve the situation.

6. Remove allergens and irritants. Keep the bedroom well vacuumed and dusted. If your pillows are washable, wash them at least once a month. Otherwise, regularly run them through a fluff cycle in the dryer to remove hair and dust. If your pillows are a few years old, it may be time to replace them. Keep pets off the bed. If you suspect that you have chronic allergies, see your doctor for testing and treatment.

7. Raise the head of the bed a few inches. This can be done with a foam wedge under the mattress, or with blocks placed under the feet of the bed frame.

8. Anti-snoring mouthpieces are designed to be worn at night. They either reposition the jaw or hold the tongue in place. These come in a wide range of styles and materials. At the higher end are customized devices made by dentists or other specialists.

9. Chin straps may be more comfortable and affordable than mouthpieces. They are designed to keep the jaw in place during the night.

10. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration increases the stickiness of mucous, which in turn may intensify snoring.

11. Exercise. Some experts think that tongue and facial exercises can firm up the slack muscles that contribute to snoring. Exercises include inflating balloons, hyperextending the tongue, and grinning widely.

12.There are various medications that purport to help snoring. As a last resort, there is surgery. These treatments are not always effective, and should be considered only after consultation with a doctor.

Only a qualified doctor can diagnose sleep apnea. Not all snoring is caused by apnea, and apnea does not always cause snoring. If you are suffering from chronic fatigue and ongoing sleep disturbances, a medical checkup can help you find out exactly what is happening.

Sources: WebMD, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Snoring Insights

BONUS Article: Staying Close In Separate Beds

RosemaryCopyright © 2015 by Rosemary West. Rosemary West is an educator, linguist, and writer working in Southern California. Married nearly 30 years and trained as a Gottman Seven Principles Educator, she explores the ups and downs of relationships on her blog, For Better – Or What? or follow on Twitter @ForBetterOrWhat.

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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.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ 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
Follow Larry’s Relationship Pintrest Page at: http://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/relationships-blog/

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Is It Time to Get Rid of Marriage?

Bob Hollander, JD, LCSW-C and Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, Guest Authors

I’m still not over Jennifer and Brad, and Mariah and Nick; but now, Ben and Jen? I really thought, or was hoping, their marriage would last. Every day we read about marriages breaking up. It’s very discouraging.

REL-DumpMarriageI was under the impression that divorce was decreasing in the U.S.; recently I searched for the facts. I found a review of marriage and divorce trends over the last 144 years. Using data from the National Center for Health Statistics, Randal Olson, researcher at University of Pennsylvania, plotted the numbers. It’s fascinating to see the correlation of marriage and divorce rates with historical events. Check it out.

The data shows that divorce rates have been steadily declining since the 1980s; however, so have the marriage rates. It also shows:

The rate of marriage today is at the lowest point ever recorded in U.S. history.

That was news to me. It made me wonder: Has the institution of marriage in the millennium outlived its usefulness? After all, we don’t necessarily depend on each other for financial support, childcare and housekeeping.

Bob and I see two glaring problems with marriage in this day and age:

1. Today’s marriages are based on romantic feelings of love – the weakest link in relationships. We assume love will last forever. The truth is love can last, IF we nurture, sustain and grow it over a lifetime. Sounds easy, but it’s a tall order in our hectic day-to-day lives.

2. We aren’t prepared for the job of being a millennial spouse. On our wedding day how many of us know:

• Feelings of romantic love will die if they are not consistently fed
• Hard work is required to sustain a healthy, loving marriage over a lifetime
• Skills including communication, negotiation and conflict management need to be learned and practiced
• Money and sex are the two issues couples have most conflict about
• Marital satisfaction statistically plunges after children are born
• The true job description of being a marital partner isn’t written down, not to mention we may not have the right training for the job?

marriages:divorcesIf you saw an ad for Spouse in the Help Wanted section, it would go something like this:

Job Description: Seeking committed, mature individual. Responsible for health and well being of self and others, physically and emotionally; dedicated to hard work; devoted and loyal for life, despite future offers; team player; ability to identify, analyze and face obstacles to team welfare; prepared to learn and practice advanced communication, conflict resolution and negotiation skills, especially around issues of money and sex; willingness to share and sacrifice own needs at times for team; stamina to persevere and maintain quality of job performance despite years of hard labor, multiple organizational changes and transitions; and only a 60% success rate.

Did you realize this is what you were signing up for? Sounds daunting.

However, Bob and I still believe in marriage. What could be better than weaving a life together, through good times and bad, persevering, learning and growing from tough times, being able to enjoy and appreciate your accomplishments, having companionship and a best friend along the journey to find meaning in this world?

In addition, research-based evidence shows that the job of spouse comes with incredible benefits. A review of the research by the US Department of Health and Human Services finds that married people have:

• Better physical and mental health
• Improved economic well-being
• Improved well-being of children as adults
• Better long term health
• Greater longevity

So add good health, long life, higher income, and healthier children to the job description. It is worth the work.

Have a conversation with your partner about the “relationship house” you have built and make a plan to repair any damage. Strengthen the foundation and redecorate based upon what you both want for the future. It’s never too late to make your connection even stronger.

Image Source: Rings image by www.Public-Domain-image.com

Copyright © 2015 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.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ 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
Follow Larry’s Relationship Pintrest Page at: http://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/relationships-blog/

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree

Direct Export Company, Guest Author

A Christmas tree should reflect the personality of the family and coordinate with the room in which it is placed. The variety of decorating styles is as varied as the number of people decorating the tree. Whether starting with a cut tree or everlasting tree, here are some basic rules that will help the decorator achieve the desired look.

The folks at Direct Export Company have provided us with some basic rules that will help you achieve your desired look.

DecorateXmasTreeWhat size and style of tree is correct?

When choosing a Christmas tree, there are four main factors to consider:

Room size: It is important to consider the room size and tree base diameter when making your tree selection. While larger rooms might accommodate the height of a taller tree, the tree diameter at the base can overwhelm the room. Many everlasting trees styles are offered in full and slim sizes to help you find the perfect fit.

Available Power: A general rule of thumb with incandescent lighting systems, states that, when using mini-lights, the tree should have approximately 100 lights per foot of height. If specialty lights – globe lights or candle lights – are added, the power draw can increase fairly significantly. Make certain that the circuit that will power the tree has the available capacity to run the lights. When using an incandescent system on the tree, the power requirement for a stand- ard 7.5’ or 9’ tree can be between 4 amperes and 10 amperes.

How you decorate: How you decorate your tree is a factor in what type of tree is best suited. If you use a lot of floral and branch ele- ments as well as small bead garlands, then a full tree will work well. For small to mid-sized hanging ornaments, an indexed tree will pro- vide the space for your decorations to hang properly and the fullness to minimize the open spaces in the tree. If you use large orna- ments, then a layered and indexed tree would be the best choice to accommodate your decorations because it will allow ample space for the ornaments to nest.

Ambient Light: If the tree is going to be put in a room with a lot of sunlight, and an Everlasting Tree is being used, a frosted or light green tree, rather than flocked or dark green, might be a better choice.

Lighting your Tree

The first consideration in decorating your tree are the lights. When using incandescent mini lights, there should be a minimum of 75 to 100 lights per linear foot. More lights can be used if desired, but fewer lights will result in a tree where the lights get lost in the decorations. If using an LED lighting system, the number of lights changes to 50 to 75 lights per foot. Candle light (C7) or Globe lights (G30) will produce satisfactory results when 8 to 12 light per foot are used. Everlasting Trees usually come pre-lit so these calculations are already done.

When installing lights on the tree (Fresh Cut or Everlasting) the light string should run along the branch starting at the tip and run back to the trunk. The light string is then moved to the next branch on the trunk and run to the tip. Alternate this “In-Out” pattern until the branches are lit. No more than 300 lights should be strung in series, that is, one light string plugged into another. Once the maximum 300 lights is reached, that series of light strings is then plugged into a “Drop” or extension cord. The number of lights that can be plugged into the drop is dependent on the size of the drop. Please refer to the electrical rating of the cord. With Everlasting Trees, this is usually already done for you.

IMPORTANT: Never plug the tree lights directly into the wall outlet. Tree lights should ALWAYS be plugged into a power strip with overload protection.

Determining the Theme of the Tree

Start the decorating process by determining what you would like the tree to look like when it is completed. Determine: 1. What colors should it include 2. What type of ornamentation is going to be used (hanging ornaments, floral elements, or some combination) 3. What type of Topper will be used (Star, Angel, etc.) 4. What is the focal element on the tree – what is the first thing upon which the observer will focus.

LJMerryChristmasThe Decorating Process

1. Start with the focal element, place it on the tree, then work out from it.
2. Organize your materials by item type: Floral, Ornaments, Sprays, etc.
3. Once you begin, work with one type of item at a time to help achieve proper balance of materials on the
tree.
4. Place the larger ornaments (or floral pieces) on the tree first. Tip: Using hooks for ornaments instead of strings allows for better control.
5. Place the garlands on the tree prior to the ornaments to insure proper draping and spacing
6. Glass, shimmering, or twinkling ornaments should be placed closer to the lights
7. Fill in around the larger pieces with smaller pieces.
8. Step back periodically and look at the tree as a whole.
9. When using floral elements, run the stem into the center of the tree so that the flower or leaves extend out near the end of the tips of the tree.
10. Generally, spacing for ornaments and floral elements should be no more that 7” apart and no closer than 3” together.
11. Place valuable and breakable ornaments nearer the top of the tree, out of reach of children, dogs, other pets, and (with live cut trees) the watering process (see discussion in the Tree Skirt Section).
12. Be creative. Birds, dolls, gift boxes, animals, ice skates, etc all are wonderful additions to your Christmas tree. If you are using an Everlasting Tree, don’t forget to hang the Scent Ball ornament within easy reach so that the fragrant oil can be replenished.

The Topper: There are a couple of ways to top your Christmas tree.

1. Install a Star, Angel, Elf, or the like on the top
2. Create a Head Dress which is a series of stems, sprays, and picks that start about 10 inches below the top of the tree, are installed so the stem projects upward at a 45 degree angle outward, with the angel getting more acute as it nears the top of the tree. The Head Dress needs to coordinate with the color and theme of the tree and should not project too far out from or over the top of the main tree trunk.

The Skirt: After the tree is decorated to your satisfaction and the lights are plugged into the plug strip, then it’s to put down the tree skirt. If you are using a Fresh cut tree, sweep up any needles that have fallen. Install your watering tube (that device that allows you to replenish the water to the tree). Then place the tree skirt around the bottom of the tree. If you are using an Everlasting Tree, just put the skirt around the stand.

After the Skirt has been installed, all that is left is for you and yours to enjoy the magic of the holiday season amidst the glow of your beautifully decorated tree!

baisch-footer-logoCopyright © 2014 – Direct Export Company. This article was made available with compliments of Baisch & Skinner, Wholesale Floral Distributor, Phoenix, AZ, welcoming Interior Designers, Decorators, Hotels, Caterers, Retail Florist, Event Planners, Restaurants and Church Organizations to our gorgeous 14,000 square foot, air conditioned, showroom conventionally located in Central Phoenix.

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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
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Friday, November 28, 2014

How to Argue With Your Partner

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

Laurie Puhn, Guest Author

You can argue and still have a happy marriage – if your arguments lead to solutions rather than lingering bitterness. Four ways to encourage this…

Alter argument patterns ~ Many couples have fallen into argument patterns that lead to more anger instead of a peaceful resolution. Maybe she criticizes, he gets defensive, she dredge up an old disagreement, he insults her, than she storms off – again and again.

How2ArgueMaking even a minor change near the outset of an argument could prevent this pattern from recurring, improving the odds of a positive outcome.

Example: As soon as an argument begins, stop and say, “Let’s sit down at the kitchen table and talk this through.” Sitting is a particularly useful suggestion because it helps the brain remain calm and rational during arguments rather than shifting into panic-driven fight-or-flight mode.

Ask neutral questions when you feel wronged by your spouse ~ Married people sometimes see nefarious intent in their spouses’ missteps where none truly exists.

When you feel you have been wronged, ask calm, nonaccusatory questions that encourage your spouse to explain his/her actions. Imagine that you’re a dispassionate detective trying to get to the bottom of the situation, not the aggrieved party.

Example: Your spouse is an hour late for dinner. Rather than explode in anger about how he take your time for granted, calmly say, “What happened? You’re an hour later than we had planned,” or “I tried calling your cell, but there was no answer.” There might be an innocent explanation. Perhaps your partner lost tract of time… or perhaps his phone battery was dead.

Stop arguing about pointless stuff ~ Don’t argue about what your adult children should do or over facts that you can easily check. There are pointless arguments. Your adult children probably aren’t going to do what you want them too do anyway, so it makes no difference if you or your spouse disagree over what should be. And if a fact can be looked up, just agree to look it up when you can, rather than let the disagreement become a full-blown argument. Alternatively, you could turn the disagreement into a lighthearted low-stakes bet – “I bet you a dollar that I’ve go this one right.”

Team up to find a solution ~ People are more likely to live up to the terms of an agreement when they feel that they had a role in crafting it. Thus the best way to prevent a problem from recurring in a marriage isn’t thinking up a solution – it’s sitting down with your spouse to think up a solution together.

Example: Don’t tell your spouse, “Keep a cell-phone charger in your car so you can call the next time you’re going to be Late.” Ask your spouse, “What could be done to avoid this happening again?” If your spouse doesn’t think up the charger situation, raise it yourself in the form of a question – “How about we keep cell-phone chargers in our cars?”

LauriePhunCopyright © 2014 Laurie Puhn, JD. Laurie Puhn, JD, is a couples mediator in private practice in New York City. She previously served on the board of the Harvard Mediation Program. She is the author of, “Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship Without Blowing Up or Giving in” (Rodale). Visit her Website at http://www.LauriePuhn.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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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Five Promises of Radical Commitment

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

David & Darlene Steele, Guest Authors

Commitment is the glue that makes marriage work, and if you want a Radical Marriage, nothing less than Radical Commitment will do. Here are our Five Promises of Radical Commitment to raise the bar and bring your marriage to the next level:

RadicalCommitment1. I Promise to Love You Every Day ~ I know that love is a choice and I choose to love you always. Though I can get busy and have my moods, you deserve my love and attention each and every day. I choose to love you even when I’m upset or frustrated. I know that loving you means being fully present, telling you my truth, being honest and transparent with my thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs so you know fully who I am. I strive to appreciate and treasure you each day that I’m blessed to have you in my life.

2. I Promise to Choose You First ~ You are the most important person in my life and I commit to not taking you or our relationship for granted, each and every day. Though work, home, finances, family, friends, hobbies, and other stresses and distractions can make this challenging, I choose you first, always.

RadicalMarriage

For more info, click the book cover!

3. I Promise to Take Responsibility ~ I understand that my outcomes are 100% dependent upon my own choices and actions, and that my thoughts and feelings are my own. I know that our relationship is a mirror reflecting myself back to me, and that my desire to be happy and feel loved by you depends upon my own ability to allow myself to be happy and to receive your love.

4. I Promise to Say “Yes!” ~ You deserve my positive response even when I don’t feel like it. Your needs and wants are a gift to my growth and well-being and the key to a great life together. I am committed to your happiness as much as my own. If I’m unable to grant 100% of your desire or request I will respond positively and work with you to find a creative way to meet your underlying need. You can feel safe with me as one who loves you and will respect and honor your needs, always.

5. I Promise to Be Your Hero ~ When life is challenging (and even when it’s not) you deserve a champion; someone who will be there for you, love and support you unconditionally, no matter what. I commit to being your hero and helping you feel emotionally and physically safe and secure. I believe in you and I believe in us.

Are You Ready for a Radical Marriage?

Does Radical Commitment seem challenging? It is! Radical Commitment is a choice to be there for your partner 100% without holding anything back. These five promises are a stretch. They require effort. They are not easy or automatic. Radical Marriage is about making intentional choices that maximize your fulfillment as a couple and allowing you to live beyond happily ever after.

Larry’s Review: This book, “Radical Marriage” will move you from an ordinary marriage – if you let it – to an incredible relationship that has you living to keep your commitments with one another. Now, that’s radical. Each of you will learn to take total responsibility for your marriage… and experience a radical satisfaction of your partnership that has always been within your grasp, but may have eluded you until you discover and embrace this new way of being with each other. Highly recommended. ~ Larry James. author of “How to Really Love the One You’re With

DavidSteeleCopyright © 2014 David & Darlene Steele. Reprinted with permission. From the book, “Radical Marriage: Your Relationship as Your Greatest Adventure.” David Steele, MA, LMFT, CLC, is founder of Relationship Coaching Institute, the first and largest international relationship coach training organization. David is a pioneer in the field of relationship coaching for singles and couples, author of numerous books, including the ground-breaking book for singles Conscious Dating: Finding the Love of your Life and the Life That You Love.

Darlene Steele, R.N. is Director of Training and Member Support for Relationship Coaching Institute. Darlene draws upon more than 30 years of marital experience and a practical approach to marriage and relationships to bring a unique perspective that complements David’s for a powerful personal and professional team exploring and sharing insights and strategies for creating a Radical Marriage. Together, Darlene and David are examples of ordinary, down to earth people living an extraordinary life through their relationship, passionate about each other and sharing the mission and message of Radical Marriage with other couples who want to “live beyond happily ever after.”

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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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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Give Up Living Your Life to Other People’s Expectations

Filed under: Guest Authors,Happiness — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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Dana Saviuc, Guest Author

Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them.

OthersExpectationsThey ignore their inner voice, that inner calling.

They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need… and eventually they forget about themselves.

You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

Larry’s Note: Read, “15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy” by Dana Saviuc, an enthusiastic student of the arts, economics, psychology and spirituality.

danaCopyright © 2014 – Dana Saviuc. When nobody’s watching, I pretend I’m a moon sprite; transcendent, effervescent, ever curious. Yet my birth certificate says I’m a human born in Romania. Oh well. I’m an enthusiastic student of the arts, economics, psychology and spirituality – and I take great pleasure in shining light on life’s hidden truths, the paradoxes that both stare us in the face and hide from us in unison, as they silently shape our every waking moment. Visit Dana’s Blog and her Facebook page.

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