Look at Your Partner Through Rose-Colored Glasses (Seriously)

LOOK AT YOUR PARTNER THROUGH ROSE-COLORED GLASSES (SERIOUSLY)

Sanaa Hyder

When you started dating your partner, you probably had glowing things to say about them. You noticed every gesture (flowers for no reason!) and every sweet compliment. Fast forward a few years, you both may have collected hurtful emotional bumps and bruises along the way, making it hard to focus on the good things. It’s easy to fall into a rut and imagine that your partner doesn’t care, even if they still do. Does this negative perspective hurt a relationship? Let’s take a look at what the research says.

Dr. Gottman defines the negative perspective as an overriding sense of negative regard, where even neutral or positive actions from your partner are skewed in your mind to be perceived as negative. This often manifests itself in feelings of loneliness, powerlessness, and eventually one or both partners distancing themselves from each other. When your feelings are predominantly negative, every action, bid for attention, joke, or mistake can be interpreted through this new negative lense – whether or not it deserves to be seen that way.

If you find yourself constantly questioning your partner’s intentions, not giving them the benefit of the doubt, you may be experiencing the result of weeks or months of being in the negative perspective.

Dr. Gottman suggests that it’s never too late to reinvigorate your relationship with positive feelings for one another. This requires a deliberate effort to think about your partner in a more favorable light. Successful couples create a culture of goodwill in their relationship and purposefully strive to see each other through rose-colored glasses.

But what does positivity in a relationship actually look like? Here are some ideas for how to start thinking the best of your partner.

“I love it when…”
Try starting your sentences (even complaints) with “I love it when.” For instance, instead of “Why haven’t we gone on a date recently?” try this: “I love it when we go out together. Remember when we went to that restaurant that night? I had so much fun. Let’s do that again!”

Write down your appreciations
Try making a list of all the small things you notice your partner do or say. Dr. Gottman encourages couples to catch their partner doing something right. Start in the morning and continue through the evening as if you’re tracking their good habits. For instance: made coffee, poured my cereal, called me in the afternoon, paid the bill after I forgot.

An awareness of these small moments builds a habit of mind of seeing your partner in a positive way. When it is time to voice your appreciation, it will be easier to recall one moment out of many. Of course, they may also be negative moments, but try to actively engage your mind in remembering the good ones.

Build up your partner
Find moments to tell your partner about how amazing, brave, and sexy a certain behavior has been. Here are some examples.

Did they collect old clothing for donation? “Babe, you’re so thoughtful and giving  – not just to this family!” or, “Thanks for coming out shopping with me on Wednesday, even though it was boring for you, I’m glad you came.”

Your attitude is your responsibility. You have the opportunity to adjust the narrative you want to tell yourself about the relationship. This narrative is important because it affects the intensity of your arguments, and ultimately your long term-success as a couple.

Now, after doing these exercises, it becomes easier to state your complaint or positive need, because you have a perspective of your partner which may be more akin to the perspective they hold of themselves.

For instance, when you are in the positive perspective, you are more inclined to recall that you are asking someone for whom you’ve built up regard and love. Within the context of appreciating your partner’s efforts all day, it feels easier to to approach your best friend with your needs from a place of warmth and affection.

If you were not paying attention to your partner’s actions all day, your request might gloss over their good behavior. Your partner may think you haven’t noticed their efforts at being caring and attentive. Unknowingly, you create a culture of negativity. So, paying attention matters. Sound like a lot to keep in mind? Maybe at first, but remember that the Gottman motto is “small things often”  -  this includes noticing the small things and appreciating them.

To build a culture of good feelings in your home and in your relationship, you have to start taking responsibility for your mindset. Where the mind goes, words and actions will follow.

How to Apologize and Say Sorry to a Lover

HOW TO APOLOGIZE AND SAY SORRY TO A LOVER

Team Lovepanky

Saying you’re sorry is easy, but learning to apologize the right way with these 8 essentials and 3 ways can save your love and bring both of you closer!

Flowers and cards can say, “I’m sorry” but alone, they just don’t cut it when you are trying to give a sincere apology to the person you love.

When we honestly apologize to someone, it is because we want forgiveness.

We want to be let off the hook for whatever wrongdoing we’ve done, or hurt we’ve caused.

And you can’t always receive the forgiveness you seek when you simply flop down a bouquet with a generic thank-you card.

Apologies take effort, and you should take the time to formulate a genuine apology with the following eight steps.

The 8 essential steps of apologizing to a lover

#1 Find out what exactly happened. Don’t guess what the issue is, ask your boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse to clearly tell you what you said or did to hurt them.

#2 If you are at fault in the situation, then you should take responsibility for your actions.

Placing the blame elsewhere is immature and will set you back further, possibly risking your relationship.

#3 You should prepare your apology, taking into account what you want to say and how you want to say it. Also, you should keep the delivery of your apology, such as the time and place, in mind.

#4 Say sorry sincerely. If you’re not genuine, the apology will definitely fail and you will be back to square one.

#5 Be grateful and thank the person for listening to you. Depending on what you’ve done, that could be more difficult than you understand.

#6 Don’t assume you will be excused, and instead ask for forgiveness.

#7 Remember to be patient. Sometimes, accepting an apology can take time, and your partner needs space to think about what comes next.

#8 Follow through on your word. If, in your apology, you agree to do something, or stop doing something, make sure you honor those promises.

Now, while these are the fundamental steps to creating a meaningful apology, you also need to take into consideration the differing degrees of an apology.

While a modest sorry might be acceptable if you forgot to call, that won’t fly if you’ve done something severely untrustworthy like break an important vow.

Depending on the amount of hurt you’ve caused, and the nature of the situation, you can apply the eight essential steps of apologizing to one of these three different degrees of apologies.

The 3 differing degrees of apologies

#1 The Simple Apology

The first degree of apology is for those small things that we could just let pass by without any apology at all.

But, if you truly love your partner, you will want to acknowledge even the smallest wrongdoing, and give a short but sweet apology to let them know you care. Your partner will be thankful that you are concerned with all of their wants and needs, and have taken the time to address why they are upset.

For example, my boyfriend’s work involves being contracted out to many different fundraising, and promotion events, that often run late into the night. I attend many of these events, but when I don’t, I simply ask him to send me a quick message so I know approximately what time he will be home.

If I don’t get a text, I wake up well into the night freaked out, worrying that something bad has happened. My anxiety is probably the result of losing too many people to road accidents, but it is still something I need his help with soothing, when he is going to be working late.

One night he forgot to text me, and I sat up until 3:30 am trying to contact him. His phone died, and he didn’t think to send a message from a friend’s phone. I was upset, all I needed was a quick update so I didn’t need to worry.

When he got home and I confronted him about the situation. He was defensive at first, and didn’t seem to think he had done anything wrong. After I explained where my anxiety came from, he offered the perfect simple apology.

He kissed my forehead, hugged me and said, “I’m sorry that I worried you. Next time if my battery dies I will borrow someone’s phone and let you know.”

Short and simple, and yet effective. If he had chosen to shrug it off instead of apologizing, I most likely would have harbored secret resentment over that. It was something little, yes, but it still mattered to me.

#2 The Nice Gesture Apology

No one is perfect, and sometimes, even the most organized person can forget an important date, event, or responsibility.

I’m not a freak over birthdays but a nice good morning birthday kiss, and tea in bed would be nice. But this year, my boyfriend forgot, and all I got was a rushed goodbye kiss, and no mention to expect anything fun later that day.

Thanks to social media, my boyfriend realized his blunder mid-day and called me, and he promised to make it up to me. He organized a nice gesture apology in the form of a dozen heart balloons *I’m not really one for roses*, and a delicious birthday cake.

A good gesture apology doesn’t need to be too big, but it can’t be too small either. It should be just enough to let your partner know you are truly sorry.

#3 The Wholehearted Apology

The third degree of apology is for those of us that have really messed something up big time. This apology isn’t for forgetting to call, or mixing up a birthday. It is in response to something that could cause serious relationship turmoil.

The wholehearted apology is somewhat less concerned with what you do, or what gifts you bear, and more about what you say, and how you follow up.

Imagine you have done something you cannot take back, and many consider a deal breaker – you’ve cheated on your partner.

No amounts of flowers or chocolates are going to offer your partner the apology they need if monogamy was something you promised each other in your relationship.

The wholehearted apology thus should begin with some deep reflection on why you are in this situation in the first place, and where to go next. Even if you’ve done something so big that it might mean the end of your relationship, you still need to offer a well thought-out, wholehearted apology.

You need to think of exactly what it is that you want to say, and how you want to say it. You need to be honest, and insightful. Don’t say things that are typical, and what your partner is expecting. Say the truth, even if it sucks.

Wholehearted apologies are the hardest, because sometimes, you won’t be forgiven. The best that you can do is to offer your sincere regret, uphold the promises you made after the apology, and try to learn from your mistakes.

Apologizing in love

While these essential steps, and different degrees of “I’m sorry” can help you out if you’ve made a mistake in love and need to apologize, they are not fail-proof.

Not all things can be forgiven. If you’ve done something truly menacing or cruel that could likely have a lasting impact on a relationship, regardless if an apology is given or not, forgiveness might be hard to come by.

It’s best to steer clear of such a situation from the beginning, and instead be honest and trustworthy throughout your relationship. Then you won’t need to do so much apologizing.So the next time you’ve fumbled in love and want to apologize and say sorry, in a small or big way, keep these 8 essential steps and 3 different kinds of apologies in mind. And for your relationship’s sake, do the right thing!

The Power of Couple Resolutions

THE POWER OF COUPLE RESOLUTIONS

Nurturing Marriage

Happy New Year on Tuesday!

Can you believe it is 2019?  Seriously, where did the time go?

With the new year comes a fresh start, a clean slate, and new opportunities and adventures. We’ve all probably packed on a few extra pounds during the holidays and it’s time to get to work on those New Year’s resolutions!

What are your resolutions and goals for the year?
What do you want to accomplish?
Who do you want to become?

Have you shared those goals and resolutions with your spouse?  Have you set goals and resolutions together?

The Power of a Personal Cheerleader

Whatever your goals may be, sharing them with your spouse could very well be the key to seeing them successfully completed within the next twelve months. Studies have shown that making your goals known to a trusted friend dramatically increases your success rate. This is largely because when you make your goals known, you feel a sense of accountability. There’s a little extra drive and motivation to reach the finish line when you know someone’s there waiting for you. 

Who better to choose as your trusted friend than your spouse! He or she already know you inside and out and understand you better than anyone else. They know your strengths and weaknesses and are very much invested in you and your personal development.

You spouse can and should be your greatest cheerleader! They can pick you up when you’re down and remind you of the vision you have for your future self. They can provide much-needed motivation to keep you moving forward with your goals when things get hard. 

I once read the story of a couple I greatly admire. In an interview about their marriage, the wife commented that her husband always gave her “wings to fly.” What an awesome compliment! That is something my wife and I have been aiming for ever since. 

So here’s my first challenge to you – sit down with your spouse and let them know what your New Year’s resolutions are. Ask him or her for support and help so you can accomplish those resolutions. Ask them to help keep you on track when you’re slipping, and offer to do the same for them.

​By being each other’s cheerleaders, not only will you each find more success in reaching your individual goals, but you’ll grow closer together in the process. Then, definitely go out on a fancy date and celebrate your successes together!

​Happy New Year! Can you believe it is already 2016? With the new year comes a fresh start, a clean slate, and new opportunities and adventures. We've all probably packed on a few extra pounds during the holidays and it's time to get to work on those New Year's resolutions (btw, did you know that by far the most common resolution is to lose those extra pounds?). What are your resolutions and goals for the upcoming year? What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to become? Have you shared those goals and resolutions with your spouse? Have you set goals and resolutions together?

The Power of Couple Resolutions

Along with individual goals, there is great power in setting couple resolutions together. My wife and I have found that there are few things that drive unity more than working together towards a common goal. And there is incredible satisfaction and fulfillment found in achieving goals together as a team.

Your couple resolutions can be anything you can dream up! Here are a few ideas of couple-goals to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Go on at least one romantic getaway during the year (plan it well in advance so you can enjoy the anticipation and build up together!).
  • Save an extra $X dollars each month.
  • Run a marathon together (or maybe just a 5k…).
  • Get scuba certified together.
  • Intentionally make time to talk for fifteen minutes every day. 
  • Take a class or join a club together.
  • Hike a fourteener. 
  • Read 12 books together. Here is a shameless plug and a good place to start. 


Whatever your couple resolutions may be, just make sure you have some! Set resolutions that are meaningful for both of you. Create a vision of the kind of marriage and life you want to create together. Then, work each day to fulfill that vision. Sure, some days you’ll see more progress than others. In fact, some days it may feel like you have taken a step back. However, by the end of the year you’ll be able to look back and proudly admire how far you’ve come together. 

Couple resolutions are powerful because they build connection, create happy memories, and nurture friendship. You and your spouse will feel closer together as you work in unity to achieve common goals. Kind of magical. 

So just remember, by setting meaningful couple resolutions together, and diligently working towards them, not only will you be able to achieve great success as a team, but you’ll certainly nurture your marriage in the process!

Achieving Self-Acceptance: 10 Little Steps for One Big Change

ACHIEVING SELF-ACCEPTANCE: 10 LITTLE STEPS FOR ONE BIG CHANGE

Bella Pope

Accepting yourself for who you are isn’t easy. If you’re struggling to be okay with you, here are the steps you can take to make self-acceptance a reality.

The one thing humans struggle with more than anything else is accepting ourselves for who we are. With the media so focused on who is “perfect” and what qualities make someone “the best,” we tend to pick ourselves apart in deciding if we have those qualities, too, thus shattering our ability to accept ourselves.

I am probably a poster child for needing self-acceptance. When I was younger, I was always told I needed to be better—to be the best. I became self-critical and had SO many insecurity issues *in part, due to a few boyfriends*, despite being a pretty well-rounded person.

Self-acceptance vs self-esteem

A lot of people might think self-acceptance and self-esteem are one in the same, but they’re very different. Although improving your self-acceptance usually increases your self-esteem, they’re not interchangeable. Self-esteem relates more to the qualities other people see in us. Whereas, self-acceptance includes ALL aspects of who we are.

This means someone could be happy with how they’re perceived by other people, but still be miserable on the inside because they don’t accept themselves.

How to be happy with who you are

I got good grades, always worked hard at anything I did, yet I still felt like I wasn’t good enough. I was never happy with who I was. I looked in the mirror daily and picked out my own problems and what I needed to do to fix them.

Little did I know all I needed to fix was how I viewed myself. It won’t be an overnight fix, but if you’re having trouble being happy with who you are and achieving self-acceptance, here are the different steps you can take to get there.

#1 Be positive all the time. You would be thoroughly surprised how changing your overall outlook on the world changes the way you also see yourself. According to Psychology Today, it’s actually possible to rewire your brain to be a more positive person.

Every time you have a negative thought, stop yourself and find something good about the situation. It doesn’t have to even be related to you—just in general.

For example, if you’re stuck in traffic after a long day and get angry because you just want to get home and relax, just think to yourself that you get to sit and do almost nothing while listening to great music on the radio. That sounds pretty relaxing to me!

#2 Whenever you’re being critical of yourself, STOP and say three good things instead. Whenever I mess up on a project, there’s always something negative that comes to mind. I didn’t pay enough attention. I could’ve worked harder. I’m not cut out for this type of work. But there are so many better things to be said, too.

When you start being critical of yourself, stop the negative train of thought and replace it with good things instead. Cutting off that negative criticism of yourself retrains your brain to think positive thoughts about you instead, and it’ll make self-acceptance that much easier.

#3 Determine if there are outside factors. The truth is, a lot of outside influences affect our ability to accept ourselves. A rough upbringing with unsupportive parents, the cruel media expectations, and even an old teacher who told you, you weren’t good enough could all be a factor in your non self-acceptance.

If there is something like that in your life, identify it so you can acknowledge it, forgive whatever it is, and then move on. Realizing that there could be a different reason you are that way will make accepting yourself so much easier.

#4 Make a plan. Honestly, if you’re someone who’s had a problem accepting yourself for a long time, it’s going to be more difficult and take longer for you to start now. Make a plan and stick to it. Make a pact with yourself to wake up every day and be happy with yourself.

This not only gives you a reason to get up and try to accept yourself every day, but it forms in you the habit of doing good things for yourself.

#5 Write down every time you do something great. Either keep a notebook handy or make a section in your notes for all the positive things you do daily. Each time you do something that earns a compliment from someone else or even if you just think, “Wow, I did a good job,” write it down somewhere. Then look at those things every night before bed.

#6 Find support. Chances are, if you don’t accept who you are then you probably don’t have a great support system helping you out. Open up to a few friends and family members and let them know how you’ve been feeling about yourself.

You’ll be surprised how fast they jump on your ship and help you out in any way they can. It’s easier to accept yourself when you know how many other’s around you already accept you.

#7 Get rid of critical people in your life. Negativity and self-criticism are contagious. There are probably people in your life that are critical of others and also critical of themselves—all of which transfers onto you.

If there are people like that in your life, you just need to ditch them. They are in no way adding anything good to your life if they’re inhibiting your ability to accept who you are.

#8 Allow yourself to mess up—then forgive yourself for it. Nobody is perfect. But just because you mess up from time to time doesn’t mean you can’t accept yourself. You won’t be successful with everything you do and that’s okay.

As long as you forgive yourself and move on from the event, self-acceptance will be so much easier. The hardest part of this for someone who has always been self-critical is to actually forgive and forget. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

#9 Stop comparing yourself. You can’t expect to be just like someone else. You are your own person and don’t have the exact same qualities as someone else. Stop comparing who you are to who someone else is, because that only makes it more difficult to accept yourself.

Nobody has all the qualities you possess and you don’t have all the qualities someone else possesses. Even identical twins–who share DNA–aren’t going to be the same on all levels. You have to only compare yourself to YOU.

#10 Seek professional help. If your inability to accept yourself takes over your life to a point where you are becoming depressed or having trouble functioning during the day, you may need help. Sometimes there are underlying reasons to your dislike of yourself, and you need a professional to uncover those reasons before you can begin healing.Self-acceptance is something we all have to strive for every day of our lives. It can be a challenge at times, but it’s the most rewarding feeling of all.

Reasons for Failed Relationships

REASONS FOR FAILED RELATIONSHIPS

Sheqoz


Small things grow into bigger problems if left unsolved

If you are in a relationship, you obviously have good and bad days. That’s normal in all relationships. The up’s and down’s are not enough reasons to push a relationship off the cliff. Those are moments meant to strengthen you. I like to think of a palm tree when the downtime comes. You must have watched either live or on the news when there are bad storms in countries with many palm trees.

They don’t seem to be very steady when the winds begin to blow but if you pay close attention, those palms bend to an extent of breaking but they never lose their ground. In this same way, some of the things relationships face are meant to make things more solid. The biggest problems come from little issues left unresolved. These problems don’t go just because they were left unaddressed. Let’s take a close look at 6 reasons why relationships fail.

1. Ignorance About Petty Issues:


Partners should never ignore each other

Many relationships become victims of their own weaknesses. Small problems become an  ignored enemy which gives it the power to win. You cannot underestimate an enemy and expect to come out victorious. Those small issues you notice but fail to fix could become the biggest threat. To stop them from destroying what you’ve worked hard to build, you will need to identify them. A problem well identified is half way solved. Once you do this, write them down and find some stress-free time to discuss and solve them.

2. Lack of Emotional Discipline:

Many relationships suffer emotional abuse. Normally one partner plays the role of the abuser knowingly or unknowingly. When we allow our emotions to run wild, we fail to recognize the red flags and thus do not make conscious efforts to apply the much needed breaks when necessary. When this happens, a crash becomes imminent.

Take control over your emotions, don’t allow them to control you. We all have feelings but they must be guided. If you want to protect your heart and relationship from unwanted abuse, control your emotions. Don’t feel entitled to get whatever you want when you want it from your partner.

Do you know that the number one reason people find themselves in wrong relationships is emotional indiscipline? They let how they feel control their actions and reactions!

3. Lack of Appreciation:


Always appreciate each other’s initiative to resolve conflicts

Never take people’s goodwill for granted or think they are kind due to weakness. When you abuse a privilege acting like you’re entitled to it, you put yourself on a dark spot. You may lose everything this way. Get into the habit of appreciating what others do for you and be respectful while at it. This goes a long way and pushes others to want to do even more for you.

4. Unthoughtfulness:

Lack of communication falls under this category. You see, when you have someone you care about and make no effort to reach out to them, they may interpret your silence as disinterest. A short text or phone call matters a lot. If you have been quiet on someone you love or care for, don’t wait for them to break that silence. Take the initiative to reach out. Don’t miss out on a good thing because of pride.

Thought for the Soul:

“To have good relationships with people at any level of life, good personality must be present. You must be in a position to concede and compromise some things. Have an understanding heart so that you can forgive.”


Happy relationships are built over time. Each day brings a new understanding.

Find out how you can make your marriage shift from worst to great again.

Don’t Let Bitterness Ruin your Marriage

DON’T LET BITTERNESS RUIN YOUR MARRIAGE

Sheqoz


Marriages break because of bitterness

Marriage is Work in Progress:

Marital problems are real and the bitterness usually justified. If you’ve been hurt by your partner,  it is advisable to confront the problem calmly. Do not harbor the pain inward or compare yourself with other married couples because each marriage is unique in its own way.

I once spoke to a lady who wished to be in her neighbor’s position because they seemed to be in a happy marriage. The fact is, people don’t announce their issues to the outside world. They keep their domestic problems behind closed doors. Smiles and public hands-holding can hide much.

No relationship is a complete smooth sail because nobody is perfect. Surprisingly the reason most marriages don’t heal is not only the problem at hand but also the prideful bitterness the wronged partner guards in their heart. Almost all breakups and divorces happen because of the hurting partner.

Bitterness Cuts the Host:

Bitterness is a blade meant to hurt someone else but it eventually cuts the hand that conceals it. When it finds a place in a relationship, it destroys the foundation one step at a time. It stores itself in the soul, slowly poisoning the one who carries it.

When you harbor resentment, love becomes numb and hardens the heart. Unfortunately, at this point most people walk out. I have learned from talking to married couples that it is common for a wife or husband to say or do something disapproved by the other.

These things are bound to happen. But in some cases, a spouse forms a repetitive pattern regardless of being confronted. To the wronged partner, each hurtful action takes residence in the heart. It reaches a point when there’s no more room left – the beginning of bitterness manifestation and damage beyond repair.

Communicate your Feelings:

If you are in such a position, the truth is, bitterness doesn’t give your spouse a chance to seek forgiveness or even change. As a matter of fact, they may not even know to what level they’ve offended you. Your bitterness comes from the hurts you suppressed without communicating.

Women are especially guilty here, I used to do it and know many women who still do. We tend to hold things inside expecting our husbands to read between the lines. Imagine taking a bottle and filling it up with pressure. It will eventually explode. Right?

In the same way, the outburst in your heart can result in a broken marriage. Your husband on the other hand may have no idea what’s going on. He may not even see it coming. I think women need to open up a little bit more. Communicate your feelings, don’t show them; your husband cannot read your mind.

We all know that men love to fix things. Your husband will do what’s necessary to make things work. I will write a different article about us women and how we push our husbands away.


Bitterness spreads like wild-fire

Bitterness Spreads Fast:

Perhaps your spouse is aware of your unhappiness but continues in the same patterns. It happens especially if he/she is trying to stir something up. The situation here is totally different and it calls for stronger measures like counseling. There are great online courses that you can use if you’re willing to save your marriage. You can sign up for one here

However, this does not negate your responsibility to remove bitterness from your heart. You still need to at least be kind enough to set yourself free from stress-related health issues. Bitterness will give your future health a bitter struggle. Nothing is worth your own health. Take care of yourself, things can get better if dealt with correctly.

I like to compare bitterness with wildfire. Deadly wildfires like the one we had ranging in California can begin with something as simple as a flat tire or tossed cigarette butt. That spark, combined with tinder-dry forests and howling winds, can be all that’s needed for a catastrophic wildfire to start.

Bitterness grows in the same way. One little bit of bitterness can spread throughout your heart and finally take over your whole body. It  starts to manifest itself in your attitude, demeanor, and finally your health.

In addition, the spread will affect your children and family. Your criticism will make everyone critical. When you reach this point, it is not possible for you to make any sound decisions. There are too many voices. The only way to start working towards reconciliation is to let go of all bitterness.

A Positive Attitude is Attractive:

Find some undistracted time to discuss the issue with your spouse. If you find it hard to talk to him/her alone, find a close friend mentor. We all have one. Remember to speak in love, rationally and gently. Talk about all your hurts without being critical.

Finally, when all is said and done, work on yourself, not your spouse. He/she is the only one who can change themselves. You do not have the power to do so. The only part you can play, if you want to see some permanent changes, is to pray. The greatest inspiration that can trigger change with your spouse is your attitude. You might end up in the best marriage ever.

I’ve seen damaged relationships fully restored and the couple’s live happily thereafter. Most problems occur due to lack of knowledge. It is okay to seek help especially if you are stuck in a hurtful cycle of marital problems.

Please take time and sign up for free relationship help here

The Termination Letter

THE TERMINATION LETTER

Japheth Prosper

I still remember how my father walked into the house that evening and announced that he had been fired.

“I have just been fired,” he said to my mother miserably and languidly sank into the chair. “I have just received my termination letter. My own is finished. I am finished. We are finished.”

As he cried, my mother came to sit beside him. God bless my mother. She just helped him to unbutton his shirt, remove his jacket and turn the fan to face him.
“You are not finished, my husband. You are not finished.”

She summoned my elder sister.

“Lucy, bring your father food to eat.”

I could see the shock in my father’s eyes. How could she not understand that he had just lost his job? I believed that was what he was thinking. But my mother remained in that manner as if nothing had happened.

Lucy brought my father’s food while my mother called on me to bring her a paper and a pen. I wondered what was on her mind. There were tears already hanging on my cheeks because I didn’t like the mood I saw my father in that evening. I had never found him in such a vulnerable situation before.

When I gave my mother the pen and paper, she began at once to scribble something on it. I wondered what it was. Although I sat in front of the television, my ears were cocked to pick up every sound. I wanted to know what they were going to do with that piece of bad news that my father had brought.

He just ate about ten spoonfuls of the rice that my sister had placed on the dining table for him. The meat, he did not even touch. My father was a very heavy eater. He must really be in a terrible mood for him not to have eaten from the food. I felt for him. I really felt for him.

Soon, his head was cradled in his palms. I knew he was thinking. I quickly remembered my classmate Biodun whose father had died of hypertension and when I asked my sister what could lead to such sickness, Lucy had said it was ‘too much thinking.’

I wanted to tell my father not to think because I did not want him to die but we were taught to keep quiet when our parents were having a heart-to-heart talk. For this reason I simply maintained a dignified silence.

“Chai! Upon all the things I did for these people, they still had the mind to fire me! This world is wicked! This world is crazy,” my father kept on lamenting.

Heaving, my mother said, “Mr. David Kadema, we are not going to discuss the past now. We are going to discuss the present and the future. You have lost your job and it is now in the past. We are not going to talk about it. We are going to talk about what we are going to do from now onwards because, job or no job, this family must feed and carry on with life.”

My father was just staring at my mother as if she was his teacher and he was a very obedient pupil. He was just staring at her as if she had just returned from Jupiter.

“What are we going to do now?”

I was surprised to hear my father ask my mother such a question. What did he mean by that? He had always been the breadwinner and the one who took almost all the decisions in the house.

My mother asked, “How much do you have?”

He looked at my mother as if she had just asked a very difficult question on rocket science.

“Mr. David Kadema, talk to me. How much money do you have in your account?”


Somewhat reluctantly, he mumbled a sum. My mother heaved a long sigh.

“I have double that amount in my account,” she said. “We can start up something with what we both have and live happily.”

From where I sat, I saw the palpable shock in my father’s eyes. “How did you get such money?”

He did not expect that my mother could have such amount of money in her account because my mother sold only soft drinks with ice blocks at home. Most people who always go to work usually look down on people who did petty business. However, I have come to realize that this assertion was completely wrong. Because he was usually not at home, he didn’t realize that my mother was making so much money from her petty business.

Again, my mother was not an impulsive buyer like my father. Every kobo counted whenever she wanted to buy or sell. As far as being prudent was concerned, my mother could score a hundred marks.

“We are going to start selling eggs in crates and we shall be using your Sienna minivan to do supplies.”

“What?” Wild horror lined my father’s face. “What are you talking about? You mean…?”

“Yes,” she replied without waiting for him to conclude. “We are going to be selling eggs and your car will be used to supply them.”

My father sat like a cocked gun. I could sense the irritation in him but he was calm. I think the termination letter with the figure my mother said she had in her account had humbled him.

My mother began to talk about her proposed business and, with rapt attention, he listened. They talked for a very long time.

“We are going to draft a new food roaster,” my mother said. “From today, we are cutting down expenses. Only needs will be taken care of from today. No money will be spent on wants and frivolities. Please let me be the boss for six months and, thereafter, you will take over fully.”

I thought my father was going to object to that but he didn’t. Instead he agreed to all the things that my mother was saying nodding at various intervals.

“And lastly, you will not lament to anyone that you have lost your job. As far as I am concerned, you resigned and got a better one because no job is as good as the one you do for yourself.”

My mother went on talking for a long time and my father kept listening and nodding at everything she was saying.

Finally, she looked at me and said, “Mercy, are your brothers at home?”

“No, Mummy,” I shook my head. “They have gone to play football.”

“Tell your sister to fetch water for your father to bathe with,” she said and turned to my father, “Congratulations, Mr. David Kadema. Take your bath and rest your bones.”

Somehow, I saw the relief in his eyes as he got up from his seat and went to the bathroom.

Later that evening while he was asleep, my mother gathered us all for a meeting. My brothers Jerry and Eugene had both returned from the field. Jerry had just got admission into the university and had only returned after the first semester. He was going to become a civil engineer. Eugene was going to SS3 while Lucy was in JS3. I was going to JS1.

We all gathered at the dining table as she talked. “Your father has just lost his job,” she began rather expressionlessly.

“What!” Jerry and Eugene cried in unison. Lucy’s hands were on her head.

“What happened?” Lucy asked. “Did he fight with someone?”

My mother shook her head. “I don’t care what happened. I am only concerned about now and after. I want you all to assume that nothing happened and we will all get our hands on deck.”

“Will he start looking for a job?” Jerry threw in.

“No,” Mother said shaking her head. “He just got another job.”

Lucy raised her hands to the air, “Praise the Lord!”

“Thank God ooo,” Eugene heaved. “I hope it’s a better job ooo.”

“Yes, it is,” my mother nodded.

“What job is that?” they all chorused with naked curiosity.

That was when I spoke for the very first time. Before my mother would reply, I muttered, “He will be selling eggs.”

“What?”

They all turned to my mother. Eugene’s eyes darted with inquisitiveness. “Mother, is it true?”

“Yes,” she nodded, and I saw the disappointment in their eyes. “Your father is now an egg dealer. He is going to start working for himself now and no more rushing his meals just to go to work on time. He will plan his day from now onwards and his time will be spent in doing his own business not another man’s business.”

She went on to tell us so many things and in the end we were all convinced that the termination letter was a blessing in disguise.

“All hands must be on deck. Your father has been working for this company for over a decade now and we still live in a rented apartment. If the job was that good, we ought to have been living in our own house by now.”

She wrote so many things on a sheet of paper and mapped out duties for all of us. The next day, she made zobo and kunu and bottled them. Lucy and I went from house to house telling people that we now sold cold kunu and zobo.


Mother bought a bigger refrigerator a week after and we began to sell more sachet water along with the kunu and zobo.

Within a month, we had found a shop across the street. My mother set up a laundry shop for my elder brothers there and they were always busy because she announced it at the church. Almost half of the men in our church patronized them. Most evenings, we all joined hands in washing while Eugene and Jerry did the ironing. When they had so much work, they would invite their friends and pay them for the services rendered. Our house became more like a business hub.

The egg business started a month later and my father got very busy. His phone was always buzzing with people calling for supplies. Mother was always counting money. With the interest that came from the business, she bought agro products and kept them in a very big shop which we rented months later.

When it was six months and mother was to hand over to my father, he smiled and said, “Be the boss, my love. Just be the boss and I will forever be at your beck and call.”

By the time Jerry returned to school, he opened another laundry shop there.


We now have three Sienna cars to distribute eggs. We now have people working for us. We now have three shops and own two houses which we gave out for rent. Our own living house will soon be completed. It might seem like magic to some people but we are all proud of my mother. We all saw how it began and she was transparent enough to let us know how every penny was got or spent.


To crown it all, my brother Jerry will be graduating this year while Lucy will be heading for Finland to further her education.

When You & Your Spouse Don’t Talk Anymore

WHEN YOU & YOUR SPOUSE DON’T TALK ANYMORE

Aaron & April Jacob

We hear from couples all the time who say they don’t talk to their spouses anymore.

“We don’t have anything to talk about.”
“We know everything about each other.”
“She doesn’t want to share her thoughts.”
“He doesn’t like talking about his feelings.”
“Talking turns into fighting, so we avoid talking.”

This happens to a lot of couples and can create a lot of distance – both  emotionally and physically.

If you and your spouse haven’t been talking a lot lately or don’t feel like you have a lot to talk about, don’t get discouraged. The good news is that you can get better at talking. You can. 

The real question is, are you willing to? 

Once upon a time you two had a lot to talk about, and you enjoyed sharing your stories from the day, your deepest fears, and your biggest dreams. Somewhere along the way life happened and you may or may not have unintentionally stopped talking and listening to each other like you used to.

Good news, with a few simple tips, you will be able to practice opening up again, and listening with love.

And the good old days are already on their way back. 

In our new book, Love is Patient, Love is Kind: A Christian Marriage Devotional, we share a few very practical tips for how to start talking again. 

Here is a short excerpt from the chapter in our book called Connected Conversations – 

1. Acknowledge each other.

When you wake up, go to sleep, leave, come home, or walk into a room, acknowledge your spouse with words – even just a simple “hey, babe” or “you look nice.” By acknowledging your spouse’s presence in a friendly and engaging manner, you’ll help conversation flow more naturally.

2. Share first.

If you and your spouse have a hard time talking, decide to be the one who will share first. Share the details of your day, even the seemingly normal ones. What was funny, what was hard, and what do you need advice on? Practice your storytelling skills. As you open up to your spouse about your day,  he or she will be more likely to open up to you as well.

3. Open your heart.

At some point, if you really want to feel close to your spouse and be madly in love again, you’ll need to be willing to share more than surface-level feelings. Share your emotions, your goals, and your dreams. This may not come naturally to some people, but it is something you can get better at and more comfortable with through practice. As you learn to be vulnerable, real, and sensitive, good things will happen.

4. Ask meaningful questions.

Avoid yes-or-no questions, and if your spouse gives you a one-word answer, try to ask a follow-up question. Ask about your spouse’s worries, fears, hobbies, interests, and favorite pastimes. Actively listen to what your spouse shares with you and validate their thoughts, feelings, and opinions.”
 – From Love is Patient, Love is Kind: A Christian Marriage Devotional

Now, these things are easier said than done.

Create an ideal setting. 

In our new book we also talk about ways to create an ideal setting for talking. If you can create rituals and routines that invite connected conversations, then you will be creating a safe, healthy, and warm foundation for a lifetime of talking, sharing, laughing, and loving.

We love what Dave & Ashley Willis suggest- that some men and women are more apt to talk when they are side-by-side instead of face to face. So instead of staring at each other over dinner wondering what to talk about, go for a walk, drive in the car, or bake a treat together. Conversation will come far more naturally than if you are just staring and waiting for it to come.

Often one of the best times to talk is right before bed. Set a goal to put your phones/devices away and just lay side-by-side or cuddle for ten minutes –  just be. See what kinds of conversations come up when you take the lead and start to share or ask questions. You also may be surprised at how intimate your conversations are if you spend a little time loving each other first. That may seem like the opposite way to approach things for some people, but sometimes physical love first can invite emotional sharing after. Just saying…

And finally, the most important thing. 

Pray for inspiration that is tailored to YOUR needs! God knows your spouse, and all that he or she is going through and dealing with. If anyone can help you navigate a more connected conversation with your spouse on the daily, it is God.

If you will pray for discernment of your spouse’s true needs, and for eyes to see ways to serve, lift, support, love, and be there for your spouse – then you will know exactly what to do when you two aren’t talking. And you will be inspired about specific things you can do to invite more conversation and communication in. 

If you listen to the promptings that come to you, you will know how you can learn to open up more to your spouse, how to feel safe again, how to overcome past hurts, and how to listen without judgment or a need to retaliate. 

We are so confident that things can start to  get better the very moment you decide you want to improve. Whatever you do, don’t give up on your relationship because there is currently a lot of distance between you two. Trust that God will help you close that gap, heal old wounds, and bring your hearts together again. 

Read why communication won’t save your marriage here and here. ​​

my spouse and I never talk anymore - we have nothing to talk about

So you have a few questions…

Let’s do an impromptu Q&A session – thoughts on this little thing we call com-mun-i-cating. 

Q. What do you do if your spouse just isn’t in the mood for talking?
A. Don’t press it. Instead, find a way to connect without talking. Rub his shoulders, give her a hug, make him a sandwich, ask her if she wants to cuddle and watch a show. Seriously, don’t force the talking thing. Instead, plan something fun to do this weekend, leave your spouse a love note in the car, or find another way to stay close and connected to your spouse, even if you aren’t talking a lot. 

Q. What do you do if your spouse doesn’t care about your emotions, goals, and dreams?
A. Whatever you do, don’t point out that he/she isn’t listening, doesn’t care, or that they don’t want to talk. Just because your spouse isn’t well-practiced in the art of listening, validating, and being sensitive, doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t care. Be okay with whatever level of attention, listening, and conversation your spouse can offer you right now – because those skills can improve! 

Q. What do you do if you share first and then your spouse has nothing to say?
A. Recently I (April) was at a MOPS meeting where a Marriage Therapist was being interviewed. She spoke about how sometimes one spouse takes up too much room in the relationship and the other spouse just lets them take over. She said if you normally do a lot of the talking in the relationship, step back and give your spouse more room, more space, and more time in the relationship and you’ll be surprised at how they open up. 

Q. How do you become a better listener?
A. Being a better listener isn’t just about skills, it’s about listening with your heart. It’s about really caring about what your spouse is saying because you love your spouse, and you want to feel close, connected, and emotionally intimate with him/her. Evaluate your heart, the demands on your time, and the distractions that normally sneak in, and you’ll know where and how you can become a better listener. Oh, and you’ll appreciate these 5 tips. 

“THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN COMMUNICATION IS HEARING WHAT ISN’T SAID” ~ PETER DRUCKER

​Q. Why do my spouse and I not talk anymore?
A. In this article we talk about

The Five Levels of Why

The Five Levels of Why is a method Sakichi Toyoda came up with and it was originally used at the Toyota Motor Corporation (here).

The gist of the method is to repeat the question “Why” five times until you get to the root cause of the problem or process and are then able to begin asking “How” questions in order to find a proper solution. 

For example (​now, this story could both ways for sure) – 

Why are we not talking? Because he had a long day at work and just wants to relax.

Why does he want to relax? Because work is stressful.

Why is work stressful? Well, it’s not just that work is stressful, but it seems that everything is piling up at all once – his reports are due Friday, his mom just got out of the hospital, he hasn’t been sleeping well, he needs to take his truck into the shop asap, and his anxiety is sky high. 

Why isn’t he sleeping well and why is his anxiety so high? He’s worried his mom is going to need to go to a care center, and wondering who is going to pay for it. He’s been avoiding everything he needs to do by staying up late and watching shows, and he can’t seem to shut his brain off at night. He feels alone, overwhelmed, and exhausted.

That is only four why’s and it’s preeetty clear that perhaps his wife could figure out some how’s:

– How could she help him with his truck, or his mom?
– How could she be there to listen to him vent about his anxieties and worries at night instead of going to sleep at 9pm?
– How could she do something to serve him and make his day easier?

She could encourage him to play basketball with his buddies, or send him an encouraging text during the day, or spend more time cuddling with him before going to bed. 

And yes, we could ask a few more why’s here and get down to some nitty gritty details on his anxieties and his mom’s aging, and his truck (yes, he loves his truck), but we’ll stop here. 

And yes, he should take some responsibility for the fact that he isn’t showing up 100% as a husband, and yes, he should strive to intentionally give more time, attention, and connection to his wife, but as you can see, he is super super super worn out. 

And instead of talking, what he may need is a lot of love. 

So, you see, it’s easy to look at not talking as the problem, when really the problem to address is something else. And if you can address the real problem, then it is wayyyy easier to fix the problem of not talking.

So ask the five why’s, or as many as you need, and address the root cause of the problem. 

Q. What do you do if you’re not talking that much because every time you do you start to fight?
A. Focus on listening, on validating, on being vulnerable, and on apologizing. Take responsibility for your part of the conversation and remember it takes two to tango. If you can practice healthy and safe conversation, then you will probably be able to keep cool, calm, and collected, which will help your spouse feel more calm, safe, and willing to talk. 

Q. Where do I start?
A. If you are at a lack for great conversation starters, here are some of our favorites. Oh, and we just used these when we were driving home from our ski date last week. We skipped the ones we didn’t love and had a blast with the ones we did like. We also love these nine questions and these 36 questions. Read through them and find a few you want to ask your spouse today. Start there. 

You can also start with technology. If you are already avoid each other and spend too much time on your devices, start texting more often throughout the day. Or use an app to connect, leave a video message, or share a pic with your spouse. Start where you are and you’ll get better as you keep at it.

Q. Why does it bother me so much that we don’t talk a lot?
A. It may be because your love languages are “words of affirmation” or “quality time.” Or it may be because what you are both longing for isn’t necessarily communication, but rather, connection – emotional and physical connection.

Renowned marriage researcher and author, Dr. John Gottman, speaks of “bids for connection,” which include any small bid for your spouse’s attention, love, empathy, affection, and love. 

What you do with your spouse’s bids for connections matters.

A lot.

Especially if you want to talk more. 

If you are aching and aiming for more connection in your conversations and in your marriage, then please check out this article on 25 Ways to Give Your Spouse the Time of Day and see if trying some of these things doesn’t invite more conversation, and more heart-to-hearts about the things that matter most. 

In Conclusion

We hope something in this article has inspired you with something you can do today to improve communication and connection with your spouse.  We’re confident that you and your spouse can start talking again, especially if you take the lead and decide to make an intentional effort to improve. 

Ultimately you know why you and your spouse aren’t talking. You probably knew before you even clicked on this article. If you search your heart, it will probably be very obvious to you what may be getting in the way of having connected conversations with your spouse. The minute you know what to do, we invite you to do it! You are the only one who can take steps today towards nurturing your marriage. As you do, your spouse is likely to follow suit! 

We would love to hear your tips and thoughts below! 

How Men Think When it Comes to Love and Relationships

HOW MEN THINK WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS

Team Lovepanky

Ever wondered how men think about relationships? Understand the way a man’s mind works and you’ll be able to read him like a book, all the time.

There are so many things about a man’s mind that makes him predictable and easy to understand.

Have you ever wondered about how men think, especially when it comes to relationships and the opposite sex?

Sometimes, just understanding the way most men think can make life a lot easier for women when it comes to impressing a man, or even flattering him.

How men think

You may try to win a man’s heart, or make a deep impression on him or you may even want to change him to suit your whims and fancies.

Instead of trying to change your man to become your definition of a dream man, just use these simple tips.

And everything will fall perfectly into place, just as long as you remember how men think.

Men think all compliments are true

If there’s one think a woman can’t go wrong with, it’s a compliment.

Almost all men think all compliments addressed to them are completely true.

Compliment a man and he’ll never think it’s a lie. Women may think twice about a compliment, but men always believe what they hear.

Compliment a man and he’ll appreciate you for it, and think of you fondly each time he remembers that compliment.

Do you want your man to start working out? Just tell him he’s got great shoulders, with just a bit of fat covering his muscles. He’ll start working out just to try and retain that compliment. On the other hand, have you ever found your man butt naked and checking himself out in front of the mirror? Chances are, someone’s told him he’s got a sexy backside.

Men are easily impressed

You may find this ridiculous, but it’s so true! Men may know it and even be wary of it, but they just can’t help it. Men are easily impressed by women who flirt back with them or exchange a flirty smile. All men think women who reciprocate their moves or at least acknowledge it are the nicest and prettiest women on earth. Want him to do you a favor? Just bat your eyelids and smile.

But this doesn’t end with just single men. Even if you’ve been dating your man for a few years, just flirt with your man or tease him into submission. He may hate you for the manipulation, but he’ll still love you for your teasing and flirting.

Men think they’re the protectors

Men think of themselves as the protectors. Ever since the primate days, men have always been the hunters and the protectors while women have been the foragers and the nurturers. Rekindle that instinct in a man and he’ll love you for it.

Men love pleasing women, be it his girlfriend or an attractive woman on the street. Give him a chance to help you and he’ll fall in love with you for making him feel like a man.

Men think they’re alright with being treated as an equal

The modern man may assume that he’d perfectly happy in a world where women rule the world. But it’s just not true.

Men have always been the breadwinners and the ones who play a dominant role in the relationship. And when the tables turn and the woman plays the dominant role of a breadwinner, most men feel emasculated and vulnerable. When a man’s wife earns more than he does or yells at him in front of others, he can’t help but shrivel up or end up wanting to have an affair just to feel powerful again. This may make men seem like chauvinistic pigs, but it’s just the way they are.

If you do want to keep your man happy in the relationship even if you’re earning more money than him, never make him feel like he has no say or control over the relationship. Emasculating a man will only drop his libido and his interest in you.

Men think they’re emotionally strong

Men think they’re strong, but they aren’t, at least not inside the head. Men have epic egos, but those egos can be shattered easily. And once it’s shattered, it takes a long time for them to nurse their ego back to life.

Be it an issue with not being able to last long enough in bed, or trying to woo a woman who seems too good to get, if a man has one bad experience, it’s all he needs to stay away from the same situation.

Don’t ever shatter a man’s ego, he’ll hate you for it. And eventually, it’ll be the both of you that suffer in the relationship. He may sulk or pout after a ego shattering experience, but help your man-child nurse his ego back to life, and you’ll have a happy relationship where he’ll helplessly depend on you to make him feel like a better man.

Men think they care about a woman’s personality

Most men think they’re intellectual and deep, but they always fall for looks over anything else. Men are completely visual. It’s always been that way since men could think. Now what may seem attractive to one man doesn’t always have to be attractive to another, but it always comes down to infatuation at first sight for all men. But at the same time, infatuation and love are two completely different emotions for men.

So the next time you want to get that second glance or make your man listen to what you have to say, dress sexy. He may drool a bit, but he’ll still listen to whatever you have to say.

Men think they like a woman who makes the first move

Men may say they like a woman who asks a guy out. It may make their life easier when it comes to wooing a woman, but subconsciously men just don’t appreciate a woman who makes the first move.

Men think women who ask a guy out are too easy to get. He may appreciate the gesture, but really, are you not getting any attention from men? Otherwise, why would you jump on a man yourself?

Unless you make a man work for your affection, somewhere deep inside, he’ll always assume he’s the better one in the relationship who can get any girl he wants if he really tries. After all, he didn’t really have to fight off any competition to get you, did he?

Men and women may think along the same lines in many ways, but not in love. Understand these tips on how men think about relationships and attraction because it can make all the difference in wooing or keeping a man committed.

Forgive Your Spouse

FORGIVE YOUR SPOUSE

You never realize the strength you receive once you forgive someone who wasn’t sorry, and accept an apology you never received. Today you must decide to forgive your spouse who hurt you intentionally. Not because they apologized, or because you enjoyed the pain that they caused you, but because your soul deserves peace.
 
Forgiveness is a choice to show mercy. It is a commitment not to hold on to count the offense against the offender.
 
Forgiveness is an expression of love. Just like God forgave you, forgive them also and pray for God’s intervention. Once your heart is sincere and pure, your prayers are heard. That’s when God starts moving into your situation and takes revenge against those who intentionally troubled and hurt you.

Read more

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