Holding Hands

Tips For Maintaining A Healthy Relationship With Your Spouse

It is easy to be in a relationship but it can be difficult to keep it healthy.  Making things more complex than they ought to be can easily occur.   Often times, Eros is not enough to prevent a relationship from getting unhealthy.

According to Readers Digest, 57 percent of people in unhappy relationships still are powerfully attracted to their partner. It is vital to realize that “love” is just one ingredient in a delicious broth.

Show affection constantly

You can’t love just in your mind. You have to show it tangibly in a language your partner can understand. Physical affection like kissing, holding hands and gentle rubs help to reduce stress, heightens mood and is directly proportional to relationship satisfaction.

Play

Play has always been key to forming a bond.  That’s why our childhood friends can be some of our best friends.   Relationships are nurtured by the connection procured from play. If your partner is not used to this, a little guidance is all it takes. It allows the couple to see each other at their best, their freest. Find fun activities you both can enjoy and infuse some wellness into the relationship. You’ll find novel ways to express yourselves and communicate.

Compromise

The city of love has its laws. There are sacrifices you must make to keep it amazing. Some people play it cautiously and decline opportunities to sacrifice. This is because they forget that without pain, there is no gain. Hence, you have to go through a little pain to make your relationship healthier. Time alone, privacy, the need to have the last say are some of the things you will have to compromise on.

Be respectful

Just because you submit sometimes doesn’t mean that you are a doormat. Respect is the act of choosing to trust and have faith in your partner’s judgement, even though you might not agree with their decision. Being attentive, speaking kindly, just accepting are ways you can show that you love them for who they are. This is wonderful for prolonging health in a relationship.

Use actions to express affection

When you make someone feel like the light in your life, it lights up your life. It keeps the flame of the relationship glowing. Words are nice but actions on top make relationships intensely delicious. Do her laundry, buy her some flowers or take him out to his favourite restaurant.

Stay faithful

There’s almost nothing that cuts a relationship like infidelity. When you cheat on a spouse you desecrate a deep part of the sexual relationship.  When you allow someone else access to a type of intimacy agreed to only be shared by you and your spouse, you break a deeply-held contract. This loss of trust can put your spouse in constant suspicion of you and inability to connect due to resentment and contempt. It’s possible to heal the wound of infidelity but the relationship can never be the same.

Article by Vital Guidance

Family Photo

Improve Health With Good Family Relationships

It is common knowledge that good relationships with family are important to overall health and happiness. Thanks to a new study, we may actually have evidence that those relationships are much more vital in keeping us healthy than we knew before.

A recently published study in the Journal of Family Psychology took a wide ranging approach to nailing down the importance of extended family in keeping us healthy. The study looked at nearly 3,000 people – a large case study for such a project – between 1995 and 2014. The average age of the group was close to 45-years-old at the first collection metric.

The study had the group, at three points during that time period, rate the quality of their interactions with their partner and their extended family. The researchers then compared that information with the respondent’s chronic conditions that they had, things ranging in severity from headaches to strokes.

The study then asked a number of questions to ascertain where that person was in life with the vital relationships that were closest to them. Questions in the study were based around their family and love life such as: “Not including your spouse or partner, how often do members of your family criticize you? How much can you rely on your family for help if you have a serious problem?”

The two findings of the study were that people who were suffering from issues within their family and/or extended family tended to have much worse health at that specific time than those people who were getting along well with their family. The study also found – perhaps surprisingly – that there was little to no correlation between people who were struggling with their spouse and health issues.

The result with family came as a shock to no one involved in the study or involved in the psychology of health vs. family relationships.  Lead author Sarah Woods points out that family is for life, while more and more intimate relationships are seen as something that can be transitional in nature. This is a modern take, with people waiting longer to be married and being content on their own perhaps being a reason why the health issues were not seen in people having trouble with their intimate partner.

One thing this should teach everyone is the vital relationship between family and health. Happy, caring families – all the way down to grandparents and cousins – give a person a basis and stability for life. Keep your loved ones close, take care of family, and live a healthier life in the process.

Article by Vital Guidance

Conflict resolution

Strategies For Resolving Conflicts Foster Growth

If there is human interaction, conflict shall eventually come up. It is an inevitable part of life that arises due to the clashing of different ideas, goals and needs. Conflict can be mild or it can result in intense personal animosity and stand in the way of productivity and everyone’s well-being. The fact that conflict exist is not really a negative thing because when it is resolved effectively, you can get rid off the problems that brought it to the surface and in the long run, foster better growth in different spheres.

Since effective conflict resolution appears to be an important assert to having a good social life, you have to learn some of the strategies to implement.

Lay out ground rules

You can reduce the frequency of potential problems by informing members of the household or workplace by making it clear each person’s boundaries. If you give people the room to define what is and isn’t appropriate, they will.

Don’t ignore conflict

Personality plays a vital role in how we tackle conflict and some people are not big on confrontation. In minor problems, it might be best to ignore the issue and it fades away on its own but you will be able to sense an uneasiness build when this is not sufficient. The resentment and contempt that builds when you avoid attacking an issue head-on can cause severe damage to relationships.

Use compliments

When addressing a problem, it’s best not to jump right into it with an accusatory tone because this will put the party on the defensive. You have to be willing to listen to the person’s perspective and the only way the person will openly communicate is if they feel comfortable. You can achieve this by complimenting them. You want to demonstrate that there is no hero or villain, you are attacking the problem not the person.

Emotional awareness

You have to be conscious of your moment-to-moment emotional experience and be on the lookout for that of others. Emotional awareness allows you to understand what is really disturbing others and to understand your issues and reactions. It allows you to communicate clearly and effectively and you will find that you’re are more able to influence others.

Be forgiving

If you are unwilling or unable to forgive others, resolving conflict will be impossible. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish which will only serve to drain you. It is vital to know when to let something go. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.

Mediation

In some cases, you can involve a trained, neutral third party to help come to a consensus. Instead of imposing a solution, a professional mediator encourages disputing parties to explore the reason behind their clash. Through guidance of opposing parties together and separately, seek to discover a resolution that is sustainable and voluntary for everyone.

Act decisively

Once a solution has been agreed upon, don’t wait and leave the team lingering. Ensure it is implemented immediately before minds change and you return to square one.

 

Article by Vital Guidance

Couple in bed

Factors To Keep Your Marriage Moving In The Right Direction

Marriage isn’t easy.  It may be one of the most vital relationships you will ever have but it’s something that both husband and wife need to work for if it’s going to succeed. There is no shortcut to a solid and healthy marriage, no cheat sheet that makes it easy and effective. There are, though, a number of factors that will make it much easier to keep the relationship headed in the right direction.

Here are five ideas that are worth following:

Listening
This one should be obvious, but as marriage is the domain of two parties – and often two parties with different ideas and skill sets about certain topics – the ability to listen is really critical. Listening doesn’t just mean hearing, either. There is a difference between passive and active listening and when it comes to marriage, active listening is the way to go.  Make sure you are immediately tuned in to what is being said, focus on the words not the noise, and actually think about the topic at hand. Those are the key points that will put you into good listening territory.

Advice vs. Venting
As a husband or wife you want to do everything you can to help your partner. That is why when they come to you with a problem your first instinct is to solve it. It took me about 10 years of marriage to realize that solving the issue isn’t always what my wife wants. Sometimes a problem doesn’t need to be solved, it just needs to be vented about. My new strategy is simply to ask at the beginning of a conversation what type of problem this is; something that needs solving or something to let off steam? This has resulted in a much better flow of information between the two of us and a happier relationship.

Stop Interrupting

This is another area I personally have had a problem with in my relationship. As someone who problem solves for a living – and who just likes to talk – I have a habit of interrupting my wife’s stream of thought to get my point in. I don’t mean anything by it, it is just me saying what I am thinking, but it comes across as rude and like what she is saying isn’t important. Instead of thinking about what to say next, just listen. This will stop the interrupting and actually help with prior points on this list.

Argue politely

This isn’t an obvious idea to get your head around but it is vital to a happy marriage. There is nothing worse than arguing dirty. Topics in this category include bringing up the past – NEVER EVER do this – or using blame statements in an argument that start with phrases like “You did” or “You should”.  Instead, disagree with class, bring the words around to yourself, using statements like “I did” or “I should”. Not only is this less provocative, it will also allow you to focus on your issues and may see your spouse’s point of view.

Never go to bed mad

Going to bed while angry is one of the worst thing you can do in your marriage. This means that no matter what happened the day before, no matter how small or big the problem was, the argument is going to carry over into another day.  End that trend now by agreeing with your partner that you will simply never go to bed upset with one another. The argument doesn’t have to be solved that night, sometimes that is not viable, but pause the fight and find a common ground that will allow you to smile with each other. You will be amazed what a quick difference this makes to your marriage.

You can learn more about keeping your marriage healthy with the book Vital Guidance:  For A Lasting Relationship.

Article by Steve Wright

Community Relationships

Relationships In Your Community Are Still Vital

When we think of the vital relationships that we nurture in our lives, we default to a few different things.  Family relationships, romantic relationships, and friend relationships will top that list, with connections in the workplace and with teammates coming in soon after.  One area we may not think to consider, however, are the relationships in our community.

Community relationships are a vital part of society, providing essential connections and tying together a group of individuals who may have nothing in common other than their location.  The U.S. is a country that was founded on such community relationships.  Over time, though, with advances in transport and technology, it has almost become taboo to invest time and care into building relationships in our community.  By doing so, we have cut away an element of society and daily living that can, and should, be enjoyable and worthwhile.

Here are a few reasons why community relationships and community bonding is still essential even in the digital age:

1 – Meeting community leaders
Trusting community leaders and feeling like you matter as an individual is critical.  Good relationships need to be formed by community leaders – be they HOA leaders or government officials – and the people who they represent.  A day or night out meeting local police and other emergency services personnel is a great way to strengthen community relationships and show everyone within a space that they matter and are respected.

2 – Activity organization
Right now the only kickball league in your area is on the far West side of town. As you live on the far East side of the city, this is a problem. The solution is to build your league through the community and have something right on your doorstep that will open up a whole new friend group of people who share the same passion. This will not be an overnight thing, but by starting a game in your community, it is incredible to see what can be achieved over time.

3 – Meeting the neighbors
One of the problems with the world being such a busy place is that the time to build vital relationships with neighbors has kind of fallen away. Most people are likely to have their friends in other parts of the city, often driving a long distance to get to hang out and enjoy the bonding of friendship. While it’s unlikely that Bill across the street will become your best friend, it’s still a good idea to meet Bill and at least know enough about him for small talk.

4 – Better for your health
This is a weird one, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that having a close-knit, walkable local neighborhood and community results in better health for the people involved. A research review from Active Living Research showed that physical activity is associated with a risk reduction from premature death and risk reductions for chronic diseases. Areas that promote walking and other events – with sidewalks, bike lanes, and paths – see much less risk for early death than those that don’t. Taking steps towards building an active local community, or jumping in if it is already there, has long-term benefits that go beyond building good relationships.

5 – Everyone loves a party
Community meetings in a town hall or other such venue might be a tough sell. What is not a tough sell is making the event that builds good relationships much more of a party. A party at the end of the pool season is always a good idea, perhaps one that involves bringing a small donation to eat from the grill. Fancier events could even have local food trucks swing by so people are investing back into the community at large and meeting small business owners at the same time. Just get creative to ensure your community push is well received.

By Steve Wright
Independent writer

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Vital Relationships Are Important On, Off The Field

It is possible to win games and not like the people you are winning alongside. Shaq and Kobe were famous for their general dislike of one another, yet they combined well enough on the court to win three consecutive NBA Championships at the turn of the millennium (and almost add a fourth in 2004).

This level of success, though, is generally seen as a wild exception to the general rule that it is much, much easier, and much more enjoyable to be successful in the sporting arena while maintaining vital relationships with your teammates.

Winning

The most obvious way in which vital relationships help athletes is that it makes winning easier.

Take this statement from a Patriots.com article written by Erik Scaiavino after a conversation with 12-year NFL (and Patriot) veteran Matthew Slater.

“At this time of year, when clubs are in the team-building mode, acquiring players via veteran free agency and the upcoming NFL Draft, there isn’t a lot of time to work on the field. The offseason training program began Monday here at Gillette Stadium, giving players like Slater, his returning friends on the roster, and the newcomers a chance to start forging their bond off the field. Slater emphasized that ‘relationships are vital’ to creating a winning environment, which the Patriots have enjoyed for the better part of nearly two decades.”

Slater knows how to win. He has three Super Bowl rings to prove that. He plays in a sport that is unique in its turnover and retention numbers, with a new crop of rookies joining the team in their offseason program ready to take the place of guys already on the team. Forging vital relationships in this scenario is important because it is the first step towards a bond that will make you play harder for your brothers on the field.

This will, in turn, lead to more wins on game day.

Losing

As crucial as these vital relationships are when winning, they are even more important when things are going badly, and a team is on a losing streak.

Such streaks happen at all levels of the game, from the professionals (see the Cleveland Browns before 2018) down through the amateur ranks and into rec league play. Some people are bad at losing, but one way to prevent those people from becoming a problem is to have created vital relationships with them so that they always have a teammate there to pick them up and help them focus on trying to win, as opposed to melting down in defeat.

Taking this one step further, these relationships are most vital when an athlete gets injured. When feeling despondent and vulnerable, knowing you have a relationship or two with teammates who will be there for you both at the initial point of injury, and throughout the rehab, is of incredible importance.

These are the relationships that matter in life and it is these relationships that make us want to wake up before dawn to lace up the cleats with our friends one more time.

Friendship e1554005624810

How To Make More Friends Than You Can Handle

The first step to maintaining healthy friendships is to realize that you really do NEED friends.

Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived gave this vital guidance, “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  Proverbs 27:17

That means that we make each other better.  It seems pretty important to God that we have good friendships.  The Bible is full of examples of this.

Think about the amazing friendship of Jonathan and David.  Jonathan warned David that his life was in danger at the hands of Jonathan‘s own father, King Saul.  This warning allowed David to take action and avoid harm, and ultimately this act of true friendship allow David to take the throne.

Friends look out for each other.  They should have each other‘s back.  Your friends are the ones who will be there for you when everything in your life is falling apart.

The second step is to be friendly and willing to meet new people.  The Bible says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly barbers . . .” Proverbs 18:24

Put a smile on your face, stick out your hand and meet new people.  Opportunities abound for making new friends if you’re willing to actively pursue new relationships. Get involved in a local church, join a social organization, volunteer at the local schools or another nonprofit organization. These are all great ways to meet new people and do good in the community at the same time.

The third step to building relationships is to make yourself vulnerable even at the risk of being rejected.  The reality is that not everyone is going to like you.  And, you are not going to like everyone.

Look for people with similar interests or a common background.  If you don’t connect with someone, just move on.  You will certainly find several good friends if you keep working towards making friends.

You will find a fourth step most helpful if you make it a natural part of your life: put others needs ahead of your home. The Bible gives this vital guidance:  “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4

Have you ever met people who want you to listen to all the details about their life but then they never bother to ask about yours?  Be interested in other people.  In humility don’t try to “one up” their stories.  Just listen, smile, and ask genuine questions. Get to know them.

If you want to make friends, it is vital that you get interested in other people.  Discover their story.  Dale Carnegie writes, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people then you can make in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

You might find it helpful to evaluate how you talk with other people.  Are you genuinely interested in others or does every conversation revolve around you?  Did you make yourself the hero of every story?  Do you find it necessary to talk about your successes and achievements?  Are you trying to impress people or relate to people?

If you really want to make friends, get interested in other people.  Learn about them.  Listen to their stories and ask questions.  If you listen and genuinely care about others, you’ll have more friends than you can handle in a short time.

Story by Timothy Neptune, lead pastor of Venture Church in Naples, FL.

 

Relationship 4 e1549342378978

The Important Relationships

I saw two great movies this week and both showed different shortfalls of a dad. In A Wrinkle In Time, the dad so much wanted to “shake hands with the world” that his achievements took him away from his family. In I Can Only Imagine, the dad not accomplishing his dream made him very abusive which drove away his family. Both scenarios tore up the kids but their courage, prayer, forgiveness and perseverance allowed them to move forward to accomplish great things – even reuniting their families. To all the dads chasing dreams, go for it but never forget the important relationships on our journey – Faith, Family and Friends. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away #Luke 9:25

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Do For Others As You Want Them To Do For You

 

We may build our personal lives and careers in different ways but always do the right things.  Short-cuts can hurt you and even worse hurt others.  Therefore, whatever you want done to YOU to help you reach your goals, do also to others along the way.  Love, give, help, inspire, listen and lead!

Relationship 2 e1549342033172

CEO Statement Teaches Valuable Relationship Lessons

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos summed up his winning formula this week for changing the U.S. healthcare system in one sentence:  “Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner’s mind and a long-term orientation.”  When I read his comment I was like “Wow” because this can also be the formula for a lasting marriage. I had the long-term orientation when I married 23 years ago but various life happenings still stressed the relationship that we almost lost it. We “started” over with more focus long before Mr. Bezos’ statement but the method to our marital success resembles his success formula.

“Success is going to require talented experts.” Who was thinking about this when they got married?  We were in love and that’s all we needed even though the pastor who married us was trying to give some vital guidance. However, when we don’t listen to those who’ve been there and done that, seen this and seen that, then time can be an excellent teacher.  We needed his advice and those of others who had wisdom and not opinions about building a good marriage.

Marriage requires “A Beginner’s Mind” because you’ll soon learn it’s not just about you anymore . . . it’s now about you, your spouse and maybe even kids.  We need to not only learn and respect each other’s opinions and habits but also learn to disagree in ways that don’t cause harm to the relationships.  This point also goes back to Mr. Bezos’ first point in that we will need “talented experts” to help deal with certain relationship issues.  With “a beginner’s mind” you’ll find there are experts as well as couples who have learned how to handle the same issues that you may be experiencing for the very first time.  Be open to learning, implementing and monitoring ideas that bring the most joy into your home.

Finally, having “a long-term orientation” helps in many ways.  If you’ve committed to spending the rest of your life with someone, work to make your relationship the best it can be by making it fun and enjoyable.  This will be different for each couple and at times different for each individual within the relationship but it doesn’t have to cost much at all.  Do not burden your relationship by going over budget for eating out when quality time together can be accomplished by a hand-holding walk in the park.  You will still have crazy days, but the understanding that this is a life-long commitment should make you want to push through the disagreements, put aside your pride and get back to a place where you can enjoy each other and the success of a lasting relationship.