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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ways To Save Money When Planning Your Dream Wedding Day

The wedding day is one of the most important days of everyone's life. It's about celebrating your love for each other in front of your family and friends. We all want that perfect day with the wedding dress of our dreams, the traditional three-tier wedding cake, amazing transport to the venue, bridesmaids/page boys, band/disco, the wedding reception to die for, well, the list could go on and on.

Planning your wedding is a very exciting time but with the organisation, also comes stress. Lets face it weddings now days are not cheap, on average a wedding costs between 15,000 and 20,000 Pounds! Times are hard for many people at this present time and everyone is trying to find ways to cut costs in our lives. Why should your wedding day be any different? Why spend more when there are ways to cut corners? This doesn't mean you have to go without, it just means you have to 'think outside the box'. There are many ways to cut the cost of your 'Special day'. Just looking around and doing a bit of research could save you hundreds if not thousands of pounds. This doesn't mean your wedding day need be any less glamorous or memorable, it simply means the stress of raising the money will be minimal.

Here are a few simple ways you can cut your costs.

Wedding Venue

First you need to decide where you would like to get married. Do you want to get married in a church, a registry office or maybe a civil ceremony is more for you.

Getting married in a church or registry office means you will also need a separate reception venue. To help cut the cost why not try getting married on a weekday or out of season (meaning not between the months of May and October) as many reception venues are more desperate for your business and offer an "off peak"discount or you may simply be able to haggle more and get the price reduced.

Another cheaper and very popular option is to have a civil ceremony. This means you can get married and have your reception all under one roof, cutting out the cost of the church or registry office.

Why not think about hiring your local village hall? They cost a lot less, meaning you could go to town with the decorations. These can be bought leading up to your big day from local shops or from the many available online stores, enabling you to spread the cost.

Of course your choice of wedding venue will also depend on the amount of people you wish to invite. Why not consider having a smaller, more intimate ceremony and then at a later date have a big party for the people you were unable to invite. This means you get to celebrate twice and you could also wear your wedding dress again!

Food/Drink

Many wedding venues offer a variety of menus for different budgets. To really help you save on the cost some venues also offer a buffet style menu. So why not think about having a less formal sit down meal and go down this avenue instead. Another idea is to do the catering yourself and rope in family and friends to help you.

Reception drinks are another thing to think about. Hotels and wedding venues usually offer a good selection of wines and champagnes but can seem a bit pricey. Why not find out if you can supply your own drink instead. They will probably still charge you corkage but it would still bring the price down. Alternatively offer your guests a welcome drink, wine with their meal and the first drink from the bar at the reception. People don't expect a free bar at wedding receptions anymore, as they know how expensive weddings can be and they are only too happy to pay for their own drinks.

Wedding Cake

The wedding cake is quite a focal point of your wedding reception but do you really need to spend hundreds of pounds on it? The answer is no! Have you heard the saying "Less is more"? Well when it comes to wedding cakes this can be true. A simple wedding cake, adorned with fresh, seasonal flowers makes a real statement and won't cost you an arm and a leg. Some well known high street stores sell iced fruit or sponge wedding cakes at great prices. So all you have to do is hire a cake stand or layer them on top of each other and add some fresh flowers or other cake decorations that can be bought from any craft shop or online store.

You may not wish to have a traditional wedding cake. Many brides and grooms don't actually like wedding cake so choose to go for something they do like. Why not try something chocolatey or have lots of little cupcakes displayed on a stand. These ideas are much kinder on your pocket but will still have you and your guests talking about it for years to come.

Wedding Dresses,Prom,Mother Of The Bride,Evening gowns

For any brides this needs to be perfect! Of course choosing a wedding dress should depend on your budget. There are many wedding gowns out there to suit every budget. Look out for sales of gowns or check out the high street stores that sell some amazing wedding dresses at a fraction of the price of some wedding dress shops. Another option is to think about buying online,and you can have the dress of your dreams at a snip of the price.

The same ideas apply for bridesmaid dresses. Think about buying online to cut the cost.

Flowers

We all know flowers can make a wedding. Having the church and reception venues decked in floral displays is a beautiful idea. Unfortunately these can prove to be very pricey when done professionally. If you do want to have them professionally made think about choosing flowers that are in season or you could choose to have more foliage with the odd flower here and there. This can really give you the wow factor but at a fraction of the price.

When choosing the bridal bouquet, why not think about a hand tied arrangement. Lilies or Roses with foliage made into a simple, elegant spray are simple to make but make a great statement. This you can make yourself. Visit a local flower wholesalers and tell them what your ideas are and they will be only too pleased to offer you their advice. While you are there why not also get some carnations for button holes, then get family members and friends to help you make them the day before the wedding.

Photographs

Photographs are a crucial part to any wedding day, leaving you with memories to cherish. There are a few different ways to save money here.

If you want to use a professional photographer, they will normally have several packages, varying in price, that you can choose from and if you have chosen to have an "off peak" wedding, some photographers will also offer you a cheaper deal.

There is also a more fun way to save on your wedding photo's. Why not buy some throw away cameras and get your guests to take the photos for you.

You could always combine the two and have a professional photographer take photos of the ceremony and then put throw away cameras on the tables at your reception and ask your guests to take the reception and evening photo's.

Or maybe you have a friend who is a keen photographer, who would cherish the thought of being your photographer for the day. Maybe they could do it as a wedding present to you or you could offer to pay them or buy them a memorable present.

No matter which option you choose, you will have memories a plenty of your wonderful day!

Remember this is your wedding day and it's not the amount of money you spend on it that makes it special, it's the friends and loved ones you are surrounded by when you say "I do". This is what will make it the truly magical day you wish for and that you will all remember for ever.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How to improve your Marriage and avoid Relationship Boredom

Someone has rightly said ‘Marriage is a two way street and it takes the efforts of both the partners to make it work’. Unfortunately, many who take their time in finding a partner or entering a relationship do not put much efforts to save it when it comes to maintaining the relationship. After the initial excitement is over most relationship goes stale making the partners to seek the solution in marital infidelity or divorce. This is because after some time after marriage or living relationship the priorities of one or both of the partners tends to shift into children, job responsibilities money etc and as a result they tend to neglect the partner or take  the partner for granted enabling boredom to creep in the relationship. If you want to maintain your marriage or relationship it is essential that you should put efforts to save it before it is too late.

Tips for Improving Marriage and avoiding Relationship Boredom

Improving your marriage need not necessarily involve huge changes but even the cumulative effect of small changes can make a significant difference in the quality of a relationship. Here are some Tips for improving Marriage and avoiding relationship boredom.
1) Improve your Communication: A healthy communication between partners is essential to maintain a good relationship. Take the time out to talk to your partner on a daily basis even if it is across the breakfast table or a late night dinner together. The daily communication can help to gain a better understanding of your partner. Try being an observer and a listener when your partner speaks and do not dominate the conversation by not allowing your spouse time to speak.
2) Take Care of your Appearance: Most Couples become lazy or uncared about their looks once they enter matrimony. Make sure you dress properly, eat healthy and do exercise regularly to stay fit.
3) Spice up your Sex Life: Most women find their men selfish when it comes to their own sexual needs. By taking your time to understand what your partner wants in bed and fulfilling them or trying out new thing with them you also ensure that your spouse would not cheat. Never reach a stage where you are not touching each other. Most women loved to be especially hugged or kissed by the partner even when they are not physically intimate with their partner. According to a study done by the Doctors at the University of North Carolina, hugging boosts blood levels of Oxytocin which is a relaxing hormone that is linked to trust.
4) Add Romance to your Life: Schedule regular dates with your spouse even if it is going out for a movie or play, or taking a walk at the beach or go dancing or having food together at a local restaurant. The idea is spending time together. Every day life can get so bogged down with details, work and loose ends that fun and romance can easily become buried and neglected. So make time for you and your spouse to go for vacations and spend time together doing something you both enjoy.
5) Add and element of Surprise: Predictability in relationships can create marital boredom. It is very important that you use words and actions to convey that your spouse is valued and treasured. Women especially who leave their own family to join her husband after marriage get hurt their mate never remembers a Birthday or an Anniversary and may even feel that her relationship is worthless. Women are also highly emotional and buying them gifts for special occasions or even without a reason can earn their loyalty towards spouse. However, try not to be predictable about what you do to surprise her or what gift you would get for her.
6) Give Respect and Take Respect:What you give is what you get. If you expect your spouse to respect you make sure that you show respect when you are talking to your spouse and also in front of others. Treating your partner like dirt, rolling your eyes when talking or using bad words would not help you gain respect. Never neglect a spouse which is a sign of lack of respect for the person.
7) Take the television out of the Bedroom: The Television in the bedroom can kill romance and sex between partners. Late night TV watching can become a habit which translates to less sex or intimacy between partners which can ruin a marriage. So taking the TV out of the bedroom is a great idea. Feng shui for Romance also suggests this.
8) Celebrate Special Days and Events together: Do you have some special days which means a lot to you and your partner? This can be Birthdays, Anniversary, Valentines or any other dates that have significant meaning or cause for celebration. Make sure you record these days in a personal calendar or organizer so that you won’t forget and make plans to celebrate in advance. You can also celebrate festivals or events like Christmas, Easter or even a New Year Day.
9) Smile Often and not frown: Smiling is contagious and is a very good habit to develop. Smiling helps to build connections so make sure you carry a genuine smile that can warm the heart and make you more attractive to your spouse.
Life is short and one should not spend it keeping grudges or wasting without enjoying it. Do not take your partner for granted but take every opportunity to celebrate your relationship. The tips listed above are small but definitely worth trying if you want to save your relationship, improve your Marriage by avoiding boredom and do not want it heading to marital infidelity or Divorce.www.marriagefamilyalive.gnbo.com.ng

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Top 10 Mistakes Women make in Relationships with Men

  1. Being clingy: Are you a clingy girlfriend? I don’t blame you, this is one major mistake many woman commit. I have even known girls who go to the extent of stalking their guys. If you are constantly around your man or talking to him always on phone, you need to stop. I have even seen girls who keep wrapping their arms around the partner in public and private alike as if declaring to the world that, ‘He is my private property. Keep away!’ Your partner may like your attention for some time but after that he might get annoyed. If you do not draw the line at constantly wanting to be around your Boyfriend, then he will look for ways to get away from you rather than spend his time with you. Just understand that your man has his own identity and interests and by being clingy you would only chase him away. Learn to trust your Partner and give him the required space. In short, have a life of your own too.
  2. Not giving enough time to the Relationship: Girls want stability in relationships. They want relationships to end in the altar rather than break ups. Do not start talking about marriage and children too fast in your relationship. Allow things to take its natural course. Cherish your time together and do not rush your Guy demanding commitment from him in the initial phases of a relationship. Just try to be optimistic and enjoy your romance than worry about future. Frequent cancelling of dates can give him the impression that you do not like him enough to spend time with him. However, beware of men who have a commitment phobia and wants to be a ‘forever boyfriend’.
  3. Not caring much about Appearance: Be presentable always. Make sure to look good and presentable in front of his family and friends. Dress decent without being trampy. When you are on a date out or spending time with him, make an effort to dress to impress. Take good care of your appearance and hygiene.
  4. Taking your Guy for granted: Guys love attention too! Do things for your Guy. You may cook him a special dinner, arrange a romantic date, dress up for him (or dress down depending on the nature of your relationship), give him a surprise gift or do whatever you think he would like. Romantic gestures can play an important role in keeping your man happy. When your man is down or depressed, be his support and shoulder. Give him motivation or pampering when he needs it. Congratulate him on his accomplishments and make a point to make him extra special on days like his birthday, your anniversary, valentine’s day etc. Let him know that you love him and care for him.
  5. Not being Respectful and Honest: Give your man the respect he deserves and never belittle him in front of others. Hiding secrets from your Boyfriend can harm your relationship. Even if you have done something you regret, it is better to tell him than let him find on his own. Lies often get caught and he will lose all that trust he had on you. If you have done a mistake, accept it and apologize. Develop that honesty and transparency in your communication in such a manner that he also would never hide anything from you. Be faithful to your Man. You may be risking your relationship by being deceitful and not being honest. Do not give any chance for your partner to point fingers at you.
  6. Being too controlling: Allow your Man to make the first move. Men like to take the lead. Allow him to pursue you than the other way around. Let him initiate and plan the dates than you doing it from your side. This will help you know if he is genuinely interested in you or if you are just a convenience for him. However, there is no harm in you taking the initiative once in a while. However, do not take any crap from anyone, even if he is your boyfriend. Do not abuse your partner physically or verbally and never let him do that to you.
  7. Comparing with Ex and talking of Past: Many girls commit the mistake of comparing their current Boyfriend with their Ex. This is one of the best things a girl can do if she wants to chase the Guy away. Even if you are playing the game to see how your Guy would react or if it was a harmless comparison made without thinking, your Guy would most probably take it as a sign that you have not fully moved on from your previous relationship. Even if he does not take it in that manner, comparisons are definitely going to hurt his ego and your relationship with him.
  8. Try to keep him away from his friends or Family: Are you someone who always looks for excuses to keep your Man away from his friends and family? Do you object when he tells that he wants to go out with his Buddies and insist that he spends time with you? If so, it’s time you change. Just understand that his friends and family are his part of life much before you. Be friendly with his family and friends but never cross your limits by being over friendly or dominating. Your man would appreciate if you get along well with the people who matter to him. You may not like some of his friends but when you meet them make a conscious effort to be polite and nice with them.
  9. Not understanding your Partner: One main characteristic of a good girlfriend is that she understands her partner well and her Boyfriend can rely on her to be there for him when he needs her. That is where good communication and spending quality time with your Guy regularly plays a vital role. Develop the comfort ability factor so that he feels at ease with you enough to share everything. Listen to his needs, worries and passions. Also trust him with your concerns and problems. Be supportive to your Guy’s Career and Hobbies. Understand his problems and pressures. Try to adapt to his likes and interests (This does not mean that you have to give up yours). Try doing things he like at times even if you would prefer to do something else. He would really appreciate that. Whenever there is a misunderstanding between you, make it a point to clear it immediately. Avoid talking about each and everything about your love life to your girlfriends or family members.The problems in your relationship are yours to tackle and as far as possible do not involve a third person in it. Try not to get into the nagging mode. A nagging girlfriend is as much as a turn off as a nagging wife. Maintain a positive outlook. Don't expect your Boyfriend to read your mind. Make sure that you voice your needs, desires and opinion but not in a demanding manner. If you are cribbing and complaining always, it would not take much time for your guy to run away from you.
  10. Being Superficial: Don’t try to be someone whom you are not. Let your Guy see the real you. Let him like you and love you as yourself.
Getting a Boyfriend can be a great feeling for any girl. But if you do not treat your Guy right, you will be risking your relationship. There is a saying, ‘Treat others the way you want yourself to be treated’. When you do that you are likely to get the same too. Knowing how to be an ideal girlfriend and taking steps towards it is an excellent way to ensure that you end up with a wedding ring on your hand and not get dumped. Now that I have pointed out the mistakes a woman should avoid for being a good girlfriend, I hope you would take the advice and change your behavior.
You have got the man of your Dreams. Now it is your turn to appreciate the presence of your Boyfriend in your life and be a good girlfriend to him.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wives Respect Your Husbands

Part One
Yes, the Bible says that. Our wife is commanded by God, the Creator of marriage, to respect us. As Pharaoh (Yul Brenner) said in the classic movie The Ten Commandments – “so let it be written, so let it be done”.







Our response to this command to our wives can take one of two directions:



1. God said it, so woman you need to do it. It should not matter how I live my life, how I treat you, respond to you, provide for you or protect you – you are just supposed to respect me. I am the man of the house, and that is just how things are going to be around here.


or,


2. God said it, so I need to live my life in such a way as to warrant her respect and admiration. I need to make it as easy as possible for her to obey the commandment.

I have known many men on each side of this fence. Some who seemingly don’t give a care about living an honorable/respectable lifestyle – yet, desire/expect/demand that their “little woman” love and respect them, and provide for their physical and emotional needs – without any complaining, whining or nagging. “So let it be written – so let it be done”.


While the previously mentioned “men” completely take God’s command out of context and use it for their own gratification – the other men I know (and try to be myself) are fully aware of the reciprocal command to husbands to “love your wife – as Christ loved the church (His bride) and gave himself up for her” in Ephesians 5.


We are commanded by God to love our wife, and give our life up on her behalf, irregardless of her response or obedience to her own command. Christ’s love for His bride did not (and does not) require/demand any action, reaction or response from her. He loved her anyway. He gave his very life for her. He voluntarily laid down his agenda, his rights, his life – in order that she might live life to the fullest.


Since God created marriage, He knows better than anyone that a wife will more naturally and willingly respect a husband who is laying down his life, in love, for her. The marriage cycle God created was “Husband loves wife unconditionally – Wife responds with love and respect for husband – Husband responds with love for wife”.
www.marriagefamilyalive.gnbo.com.ng

Since husbands are commanded to “love our wives and give ourselves up for them” – we cannot afford to sit back, point fingers and demand respect without first taking the initiative to obey God and do what He says. He says we (husbands) are the “head” of the home, and are responsible for initiating and maintaining His marriage cycle.


How do you do that? What can I do to earn her respect?
Making progress daily.

By Rob Thorpe, Used with permission. Read more from Rob at, square1ministries.com

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

If One Partner Cheats Can The Relationship Still Work?

If one partner cheats can the relationship still work? When one partner cheats in the marriage relationship, put aside anger and ego and decide how important sex is to the relationship. The relationship...

The relationship can definitely still work. It depends on whether the partner is going to continue cheating and how much the cheating mattered to you. This is really a hard topic. On an ego base, it matters a lot. We get possessive, angry, and upset, because we don't want somebody cheating on us. How dare they do this to me? On another level, it might totally destroy your trust in the marriage. You have to see if the person is going to keep doing it. If they are not going to stop doing it, you have to decide whether you can accept that. There are couples who just have the agreement to do whatever they want, where the relationship is primary, but they both have sex with other people. I am not okay with that in my marriage, but there are people who are. If it's not acceptable to you, and the other person is not willing to change, you may need to get out of the relationship.


If your partner is cheating because they are not being satisfied by you, there is another element there. For instance, if my husband is not every getting any passion from me after years of being married, he may say, "Forget this. I don't need a roommate. I am going to go get it elsewhere." Would I be able to blame him for this? I am not showing up in the marriage in the way that we agreed upon in the beginning which was that we were to be exclusive sexual partners. I have to stop respond to my husband in a way that he is not so inspired to go out and look for somebody else. It may or may not work. I am not trying to suggest that it's the woman's fault or the man's fault if your partner is cheating, but sometimes it is. I personally think our marriages and our relationships should be a safe sanctuary where we come home and retreat from the rest of the world. We should come home to restore, renew, and rejuvenate to strengthen ourselves to go back out and face the world. www.marriagefamilyalive.gnbo.com.ng

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Go Ahead, Have an Affair (with your spouse)!

Go Ahead, Have an Affair (with your spouse)!

sex with spouse In the last few months, I've been introduced to the idea by Dr. Diana Kirschner of pretending to have an ongoing affair with your spouse to keep passion alive. I remember she said to me once, when I was complaining about not having time or energy for sex, "Well, what would kind of time and energy would you create if you were having an affair?"
This got my attention. What would I be like? I imagined I would find all kinds of creative ways to sneak in quickies and send steamy texts and be up in the middle of the night for a hot toss in the sheets. Making out would occur naturally and, well, so would lots of other things... So, I tried it out. Yowza! My husband and I took things to a whole new level!
I hear all the time, especially from women, that sex isn't all that important, that they're too tired, too overburdened by chores and work and kids. No doubt; I hear ya people. But, remember how you used to make out with each other? Remember how you couldn't wait to see each other and could stay up all night. Don't you miss that? Wouldn't you want to know how to recreate that from time to time?
Having ongoing passion really is a state of mind. It's about making sex with your spouse playful, a game to be played to keep up the intimacy, fun and the connection. Believe me, suddenly chores get done (or, blown off completely), kids get put to bed and the bedroom becomes alive when you just start pretending that you can't get enough of each other. Pretty soon, it's no longer pretending.
To start, all it takes is one simple steamy text message or note. Or doing something completely different and unexpected. Start flirting with your spouse like you used to. Give compliments and stand in awe when he or she walks in the room. Meet each other in hotel rooms and make out in the back seat of a car. Life is short. Sex is fun. Go do it!
For more thoughts on sex and marriage, see my article on marriage sex.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Enjoying the Gift of Sex in Your Marriage

When my husband and I moved to Dallas five years ago, we joined a church that stressed the importance of living in authentic community. We plugged into a small group that consisted of couples who’d been married 1-3 years. Our mentor couple paved the way for us to be open and accountable in all areas of our marriage, including the often-taboo topic of sex.
One evening around the table in confidentiality, one of the girls told just us girls about the concerns she had in her sexual relationship with her husband. It had been several weeks since they made love. Most evenings she was tired from work, being a mom, and just didn’t feel in the mood. She was frustrated and knew he was too. Above all, she was concerned about his purity.
We listened and encouraged her to be intentional about having a regular time for intimacy and that we would hold her accountable. We gave her ideas to freshen things up and what we acknowledged right away was that her situation was not extraordinary. We had been there as wives before and probably would again.
How God intended sex to be          
When you’re single and dating sex is so incredibly enticing, it’s easy to think that sex will be so easy in marriage. Besides, you love each other so much. How could something so delightful take so much work?
But you quickly realize after the wedding day and honeymoon that you have to be diligent at cultivating your sexual relationship with your spouse. Keeping it alive and exciting doesn’t always come naturally. Sex can become common. And arguments and conflict often surface when sexual intimacy is lacking.
But the amazing thing is that God designed sexual intimacy between a husband and wife to be enjoyable, even in the midst of life’s demands, as well as our own insecurities and imperfections. He designed sex to be delightful, vibrant, intoxicating, pleasing, fun, adventurous, and bonding. But I can’t promise that you’ll see the marriage relationship portrayed like that on your flat screen.
The secret of the joy of sex
In Song of Solomon, Chapter 4, King Solomon and the Shulamite woman have consummated their marriage. Their sexual desires and passions are no longer restrained. They are diving into all the delights they’ve been waiting for with wild passion:
I have entered my garden, O my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my balsam spice. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk!” (Song of Solomon 5:1)
His legs are alabaster columns, set on bases of gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable. This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem” (5:15-17).
May your mouth be like the best wine, flowing smoothly for my beloved, gliding gently over our lips as we sleep together” (7:9).
I am my beloved’s, and he desires me! (7:10)
Those are just a few words out of lines of descriptive Hebrew poetry that reveal the beauty of Solomon and his bride’s sexual relationship. Who needs romance novels and movies when you can just pick up the Bible! God clearly had a purpose for including it in Scripture. He cares about the sexual relationship because he created it as a good thing.
In marriage, God has given us the incredible blessing of enjoying our spouse’s body, mind, soul, and spirit to its absolute fullest. And it’s a pleasure we get to enjoy for however many years God gives us with our spouse.
In the book Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, contributor Ben Patterson says,
The gigantic secret of the joy of sex is this: Sex is good because the God who created sex is good. And God is glorified greatly when we receive his gift with thanksgiving and enjoy it the way he meant for it to be enjoyed.”
If we don’t accept the gift of our sexual relationship with thanksgiving and joy, then we’re being disobedient to God’s word and doing a huge disfavor to our spouse’s needs and to their purity. But when we enjoy the gift of sex with a joyful and selfless heart as God intended, there is nothing better in the world that exists.
The reality of sexual brokenness
If sexual brokenness or victimization has been a reality for you prior to marriage, no pain is too great for God to heal and restore. It’s never too late to seek biblical counsel with your spouse and bring to light those hurts. Talking about your sexual past can help save you from a lot of pain on down the road and can save your marriage.
Past or present misuses of sexuality like adultery, fornication, masturbation, pornography, and so on that have entered the marriage bed are never beyond God’s forgiveness and grace. God is in the redemption business. Our sin and struggles with sin are why we so desperately need the cross. In our unfaithfulness, Jesus already paid our debt. And He is always calling us back to him.
Committed to the sexual relationship
The sexual relationship with our spouse is a huge deal and we were created to enjoy the gift of sex to its fullest. It must be protected and kept a priority.
It’s neat to see how over the years the friend in my small group has grown in her intimacy with her husband. She started making changes when it came to the time of day they were intimate—she bought new lingerie, and made sure she was taking care of herself physically in the midst of being a busy mom and working.
Her husband appreciated the efforts made and they’re doing well in their overall relationship today. They’re committed to keeping their sexual relationship the best it can be, while recognizing that there will be days that are harder than others.
My friend’s efforts continue to encourage all the wives in our group to honor God and our husbands in such a way.
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Samantha Krieger is a writer and editor in Dallas, TX. Through story, personal reflection, and biblical insight she is passionate about helping others live out their faith in everyday life. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom, she wrote adult Bible study curriculum for Bluefish TV—one of the largest Christian video publishing companies. She’s written for LifeWay Christian Resources, Focus on the Family, Ungrind, and has contributed to books on Christian living. She holds a B.A. in English from Liberty University and a M.A. in Religion with an emphasis in Church Ministries from Liberty Theological Seminary. Samantha and her husband, Jeremiah, have two children: John (2) and Rebekah (10 mos). She blogs weekly at: samanthakrieger.com and tweets at: @samanthakrieger.

5 Sex positions women die to have

It's time to upgrade your sex life, and to get your partner turned on like never before.
We already knew that women love sex, but have we ever thought of sex positions women really enjoy or feel comfortable while reaching orgasm? There are many sex positions out there, only some of them give more pleasure to women.
Women are always ready to accept and enjoy men's favorite sex positions but women seldom ask for their favourite position(s). The time has come for men to understand what women really want in bed. Remember, great sex happens only when there is a smooth balance between pleasure and comfort.
We bring you five amazing sex positions you need to explore and women always wanted to have.
1. Get dirty with doggy style: Women definitely enjoy doggy style. It is probably one of the best sex positions, and also the most arousing position for men. Make sure to perform this style with intimacy and pleasure.
2. The overused style, missionary position: No doubt, the man-on-woman position is the most common one. It's boring but sex mostly begins with missionary position, and women still like it. In this position women get more intimate with their partners through eye contact.
3. Women like riding, cowgirl style: It's a big turn-on for both the sexes, and perhaps the sexiest sex position. Sometimes women like to dominate men during sex. In this position women can move back and forth and stimulate their G-spot for a big orgasm. You may also try reverse cowgirl position.
4. Get more intimate with spoons position: Side by side sexual position is one of the most comfortable sex positions, and it can really last long. Get naughtier by doing some dirty talk while you can.
5. Out of control, the standing position: Sometimes women want to jump out of the bed and play again in standing position. In this style, she sits on a surface and he thrust her from the front as deeply as he can, and in all likelihood gets the chance to hit the G-spot. Try this position in the kitchen or on a tabletop.
Simply go ahead and give your girl the most amazing orgasm of her life.www.marriagefamilyalive.gnbo.com.ng

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines Day : Valentines Day Ideas

“Love has no desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires;
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.” - (Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet)

These few words truly capture the real meaning and essence of the beautiful gift endowed upon us by the Lords called love. Love is one strong emotion that consumes every person during their lifetime. Nothing in this world is considered purer and greater than true love and many romantics in history like the Greek port Sapho, Romeo and Juliet and the Indian emperor Shah Jahan have dedicated their entire lives to illustrate the fact. To honor and celebrate this beautiful human emotion, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 14th of February every year.

The most asked and pondered over question is how to spend Valentine’s Day. Everyone wants to spend the day in a special way. This is one time of the year when you can say to your loved one how much you care. Love needs some form of expression and spending the entire day with your loved one will be like the best way to show your feelings and emotions. So worry no further. We bring you many different ideas for Valentine’s Day and how to make it special for your special one! Check out our Valentine's Day ideas and enjoy your day.Valentine's Day Gift Basket

Ideas For Valentine’s Day
  • Start the day by filling up the room with red roses. Wake up your partner by showering him/her with rose flower petals.
  • Proceed by making breakfast for your beloved. In case you don't live together, give your beloved a good morning call to wake him/her up.
  • Plan beforehand as to when and how are you going to spend time together. You can either tell your partner about the plans or keep it as a surprise. If you want to keep it as a surprise, make sure your partner does not have any other official priorities.
  • Plan a nice cozy place for lunch. Make sure you book your table in advance as most eating joints run packed on Valentine’s Day. You wouldn't want to stand in a long queue and make your loved one moan and complain.
  •  You can catch up on a nice movie before or after your lunch. What better way to unwind than going on a long drive and spending those stolen quiet moments with your beloved.
  • Spend the evening in the arms of your beloved watching the sunset over the horizon.
  • You can end this beautiful day by having dinner at home by the fireplace. If you don't have a fireplace, light candles around the room in crucial corners.
  •  You can further decorate some aroma candles around the table to infuse sensuous smells in the atmosphere. Dim the lights and have light music playing in the background with sounds of wind chimes. Need we say anything further!marriagefamilyalive.gnbo.com.ng

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

14 Signs That Show if a Midlife Crisis is Destroying your Marriage


A midlife crisis can affect both men and women. And it's effects can be pretty devastating for their spouses because they end up bearing the brunt of it.

The unfortunate thing is that those going through a midlife crisis will vehemently deny that it's what's happening to them. Or, on the other hand, they will laugh you off for even suggesting it.

From experience, observation, and studying the subject, I've found at that they seem to all sing from the same song sheet. Someone suggested that it's like a midlife crisis alien virus takes over their system. Some of the likely symptoms are presented below:

Midlife Crisis Sign #1

First things first, what's in your mind? Are any of the following thoughts (or something close to) swirling around in your mind, or have you actually said them to your spouse?

I'm not in love with you anymore
I still love you (like a friend), but I'm not in love with you
I never knew anything besides life with you
We got married too young
If you hadn't been pregnant, we wouldn't have ever gotten married

Midlife Crisis Sign #2

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's go on to the next point. Think about your whole relationship from beginning to this (impending) end: it's been nothing but frustration hasn't it? You can't seem to have any fond memories of your spouse at this time. Even when they did something good, it was just to manipulate you or make you feel bad.
When you think back, all the problems that you're having now and ever had in your marriage has been because of your spouse. They always made you do what they wanted; you never got to do what you wanted.

Midlife Crisis Sign #3

You're ready for the next one. Be honest now. Do you really care about how they're feeling right now or what they want? You just want to separate yourself from all of this "madness". The crying, the nagging, and the constant questions from your spouse is getting you down. So you feel you need to withdraw emotionally, don't you?

Midlife Crisis Sign #4

You think that there are some things you always wanted but never got round to getting. You're not going to wait any more until you can afford something before you go out and get it. You deserve to get some nice things and you're to get them. NOW.

Midlife Crisis Sign #5

You begin to wonder what life would have been like with another person. You reckon that if you had been available, all those other men or women would have wanted you. So you're beginning to think about testing out your theory. And you know what, you guessed right. There are loads of people out there who want you. They laugh at your jokes and think you're interesting. They actually think that you're pretty great.

Midlife Crisis Sign #6

If you've already put your theory to test about members of the opposite sex finding you attractive, you may already have engaged or be engaging in an emotional or physical affair.
When you go out or come back at odd hours or receive telephone calls from "some person" you feel that urge for extra privacy so you take it in the bathroom. You don't know why your spouse has to ask you questions like "who was that?", "whose calling at this late hour", etc. When you think about it, what makes your spouse think that you need to answer questions like, "where have you been?" "Who were you with?" , etc.

Anyway, you hate their underhanded sneaking around trying to find about your business. Even if they do produce proof like an inappropriate email or text message on your phone, how dare they invade your privacy? Anyway, you're going to hold out admitting to the affair if you can get away with it.

Midlife Crisis Sign #7

You're not really sure if you want your spouse to go on with life without you. Why should they go on to have a happy and fulfilled life when you feel so frustrated with your life? So sometimes you're affectionate, not too often because you don't want to raise their hopes too high. One minute you say that you just can't live with them, the next, you're getting them to make love with you. Or, you move out, but come back to check your mail and see the children.
Midlife Crisis Sign #8

You really don't want to deal with anything right now, do you? Why does your spouse want to bring you down talking about "issues" or "responsibilities"? You just want to feel good. Why does everyone keep asking to try to be reasonable? Maybe the solution is to avoid all these discussions and people. Why should do anything that you don't feel like doing? If you've already formed a relationship with someone else, you're sure that they will help run away from all these disturbances. If not, maybe it's the new car, or going partying or clubbing. Alcohol and drugs also begin to draw your attention. Why not, you've been so responsible for so long and life is too short. If none of these work, you can simply ignore all of them.

Midlife Crisis Sign #9

You go to counselling with your spouse "just to make them feel better". Anyway, you're the real victim here. But you'll just go along so that they won't say that you're not trying. But at this stage, you don't feel like following up with anything the counsellor suggested and you feel that you're spouse is nagging when they ask you to make some effort in that direction.

Midlife Crisis Sign #10

You've known your spouse for so long that you know what makes them happy or upset. So from time to time you practice doing both. But in most cases, you want to prove how awful they're making life for you by getting them upset so that they can retaliate with something equally mean or hurtful. So you drop subtle hints about taking custody of the children; or you make derogatory remarks about their habits, appearance, family members, the list goes on. It's called pushing their buttons and your time with them gives you a lot of ammunition. Anyway, why not, they pushed you to it.

Midlife Crisis Sign #11

You play the blame game. You can't really think about any major faults of your own. So you think about and/or say things like:

We don't go out any more.
We don't have any fun together any more.
I'm not sure I can continue living with you
You never….
I'm not trying to blame you (but by implication you are)

Midlife Crisis Sign #12

Your spouse makes some effort to change. They've done some soul searching about how they could have done better and start putting some effort into it. But you think, "Too little, too late". As far as you're concerned, there's NOTHING they can do that will change things. All that pleading and begging is getting you down, you just want to move on.

Midlife Crisis Sign #13

Despite the fact that you're not happy about your marriage and you want a different life (preferably with someone else); you get really upset if they file for a divorce. Why should they be the one to take the initiative? If you see that they really want to go through with it, you're going to make things really difficult for them. Anyway, they're filing for divorce or suggesting a separation shows that they never really wanted it to work in the first place. As far as you're concerned, they've shown their true colours now and you're going to let everyone know it!

Midlife Crisis Sign #14

The divorce or separation finally comes through (I hope it doesn't after reading this). You're now free to do all the things you really want. What a relief, you can now live the life you've always wanted. You're free to date or carry on your affair (if you had already started it). Then you hear that your ex has started or may be starting a relationship with someone else. You're not sure if you really like it, but of course you won't admit it.

Six months to a year passes and you've had all the dates, enjoyed your affair to the hilt. You've tried all those things that you were always saying "no" to. But somehow you're still not completely fulfilled. Then you begin to wonder,
Did I make a mistake…?
Was life really that bad...?
Will they take me back...?www.marriagefamilyalive.gnbo.com.ng

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

5 Reasons I Like Sex: Confessions From a Christian Wife

Well, there are a lot more than 5 reasons, but its debatable how much you really want to know about me, so I'll hold off at 5.
As a Christian wife, I do like sex.  To some of you reading this, such a proclamation makes me either an annoying freak or a bewildering mystery.
Can you hear the theologians murmuring... "Hmmm... We were busy studying discipleship when we stumbled across something that rarely is found in its natural habitat. A Christian wife. Who likes sex. Fascinating."
So, just in case you were wondering, here are 5 reasons I like sex...
1. It tells Satan to get his hands off my marriage.
When I hear about couples who are having little or no sex, I get a wee bit jittery.  I mean, not in an obvious way, but I think to myself, "That's a sure fire way to pin a target on your marriage."
The Enemy is indeed "prowling around looking for someone to devour." From where Satan is standing, a marriage where one or both spouses is indifferent about sex makes for a scrumptious snack. I'm telling you, he looks for weak targets.
I'm not saying nurtured sexual intimacy is the only ingredient to a strong marriage.  I won't even go so far as to say it is the cornerstone (Jesus gets that real estate).
I know full well, though, that there is something powerfully binding that happens when my husband and I make love. And frankly, it angers Satan -- because deep down he knows that a marriage where sex is treasured and protected is a force to be reckoned with. He has a more difficult task on his hands when he goes up against a couple that savors being one with each other.
"Get your hands off my marriage Satan. This is a closed-door meeting, and you were not invited."
2. It shows my kids that sex matters.
Now don't go calling child protective services.  We aren't having sex in front of our kids.  But make no mistake... they know that sex matters in our marriage.
We are discreet with our sexual intimacy, but not so much with our appropriate affection in front of our kids. Our marriage has territory to it that defines us separate from who we are as parents -- and our kids need to know this.
Sadly, so many Christian women have spoken only negatively about sex with the children in their lives, particularly their daughters and nieces.
And you know what happened next? Those daughters and nieces grew up to be wives -- who believed and lived those false tapes as if they were truth. And then they perpetuated the cycle with their own daughters and nieces.
So what are we left with?  A bunch of husbands who want to have sex and a bunch of wives who think it is disgusting and dirty -- and to be avoided at all costs.
If this is your story, I implore you to break this generational epidemic and start reclaiming sexual ground.  You owe it not only to your marriage, but also to your children as well -- that they grow up with an accurate godly perspective on sexual intimacy.
3. It is physical re-affirmation of my wedding vows.
Honestly, my husband and I fight at times.  We occasionally have found each other's "one remaining nerve" and proceeded to traipse right across it.  Marriage is hard -- not "scooping manure all day" hard, but probably a close second at times.  But I love this man.  And he loves me.
Several years ago, we stood before God and the people who know us best and we chose a life together.   When we make love, we are saying to each other once again, "I still choose you.  No matter what, I still choose you."  There is something profound about that.
Is it the only way to say I still choose you?  Well, heavens no.  But it is significant enough that God saw the need to specifically tell married couples to do it often.  Maybe He is on to something, seeing how He is God and all.
Yeah, you could re-affirm your vows with some big shindig, complete with another cake and your crazy uncle doing the Macarena.
...or you could just have lots of mind-blowing sex.  You choose.
4. It's free.
Okay, I admit it.  I'm not quite the coupon queen one would imagine.  Nor do I scour the ads for those "buy one, get one free" sales.  Even so, I appreciate something that is incredibly entertaining and at the same time completely free.  Sex is some of the best entertainment around. Game on.
5. It's a great stress reliever.
Call me crazy, but I don't think there is anything better to relieve stress than an orgasm with the man I love.  Sure, I like a hot bath every now and then.  Or even a massage if I've got the cash and time. And certainly more than a few overpriced lattes have gotten me through some particularly challenging moments.
But sex? Now there's something clever the Creator came up with. I can't quite put my finger on the why, but sex definitely improves my outlook if I'm feeling overwhelmed with life.  Suffice to say, I need a lot of sex to get me through.
So there you have it... 5 Reasons I Like Sex.  I've come clean.  My story is out (and I didn't even have to go to a confession booth or anything like that, thank God.)
How about you?!  Tell me some reasons you like sex with your beloved.  I don't want to be privy to all the details, mind you.
But PLEASSEE.... won't some other Christian wives champion this cause with me?!   I know you're out there.  You just need to confess.
Copyright 2011, Julie Sibert, Intimacy in Marriage Blog.marriagefamilyalive.gnbo.com.ng

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Inject Some Romance Into Your Husband and Save Your Marriage

Every good marriage needs romance in it in order to succeed and last. If you think about it, this is what started your relationship to begin with, so it makes perfect sense if it is necessary to make it last, as well. Many people think that the romance ends after marriage, but this doesn't have to be so in your case. If you really want to inject some romance in your marriage that will last, then it is possible to do so. Here's how.
If you feel like romance has completely left the building when it comes to your marriage, then this might be because you no longer spend as much time together as you used to. No matter how busy you might be with your kids or with work, though, it would be vital to inject some romance into your marriage by spending more time together. If your marriage doesn't have a strong foundation to build itself on, then it is no wonder why the sparks are dying down in it. To build a strong foundation, make it a point to spend quality time together and to make love as often as possible.
Now, just because the sparks are gone doesn't necessarily mean that the love between you is completely gone, as well. However, you might need more than pure love to really feel things for each other. While love is the most important thing in a marriage, it would still be important to express your love to show your husband how much you love him, as well.
Remember: words can only help you so much. People need actions to assure them that they are needed and wanted in their relationships. This holds especially true for men who are married. So, as much as possible, show your husband how much you love him by expressing your feelings through your actions. Instead of telling him you love him, for example, do certain things. Make an effort to rediscover the little things about him and spend more time with him, in general. This will help inject some romance into your marriage in no time.
Without a doubt, marriages can take a lot of effort and hard work to survive the test of time. So, if you are currently going through a rough patch and want to inject some romance into your lives, just remind yourself of why you got married in the first place and try your best to weather it through somehow.
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Friday, February 8, 2013

Christian Sex Rules

Christian Sex Rules

A guide to what's allowed in the bedroom
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When it comes to sex, most married Christians just do what works for them. If they have been blessed enough to have discovered something that brings satisfaction, pleasure, closeness, and climax, they most likely will continue that practice. However, some are plagued with guilt because they wonder if what they're doing is sinful.
Marriage Partnership receives many, many questions from Christian couples who want to know what is and what is not okay to do sexually. Unfortunately, churches tend to ignore this issue, small groups usually don't talk about sex, and most Christian books deal with more "spiritual" ideas.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a list of sexual practices categorized by "sinful" or "okay"? Is there such a list? Would everyone agree with the list? Is there a solution to this dilemma?
We think the answers to those questions are: yes, no, no, and probably not—in that order. We'd really like to create such a list that could settle once and forever the niggling doubts about sexual practices. But that's not possible. Different communities of Christians have different understandings about sexual practices that are based on a few general biblical principles. No list would be accepted by all Christians. Still, we do want to provide some guidelines that we hope will help you enjoy the gift of your sexuality to the fullest. That's what we're convinced God wants for each of his children.
We doubt that God's surprised by the intensity of our sexual desire or of its fulfillment. Seeing us enjoy the passion and pleasure seems to fit with his creative nature. There are some definite boundaries, however, that were identified through his Word. These are established to protect and enhance the maximum enjoyment of the gift. We think it's like our giving our kids bicycles. We'd teach them the safety rules right away so they could delight in the ride without being run over by a car on a busy street.
First, we'd like to point out the obvious—the Bible is not a manual on sexual technique. We've heard some people say that Song of Solomon describes acceptable sexual positions and behavior. We see it as a poetic love song that clearly embraces the joy of sexual play. We don't think it is an attempt to outline any specific sexual practices.
Second, we want to emphasize again that there are some specific sexual behaviors that are forbidden in scriptures. Adultery, that is having sexual intercourse with another person's spouse or a partner other than your own spouse, is a sin. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, deepens the importance of marital faithfulness by extending the prohibition of infidelity to include a lustful thought life as well as the physical act of intercourse. Looking into our minds and hearts is an important principle for safeguarding the delights of intimacy.
Scripture is also clear about the evil of fornication—premarital sexual intercourse—which most of our culture accepts as normal and irresistible. We see many couples suffering from the consequences of their early promiscuity. The "sexual freedom" of our time isn't free and usually carries some pretty heavy costs.
The Bible also lists other practices that are "abominations" to God (Le v. 18, Rom. 1:21-32, I Thess. 4:1-8, and I Cor. 6:12-20). These include homosexuality, bestiality, and incest.
And last, there is a vast array of possible sexual practices for married couples that are not mentioned at all in Scripture (we can find no reference to Internet pornography, vibrators, or videos). So, since we aren't likely to find a definitive answer, the best we can do is find the principles God has given us and apply them to the cultural setting we're living in. As we look for those you may not be surprised to find that we're not much different in the twenty-first century than how mankind has been since creation. We have the same anatomical equipment, the same physiologic hormones, the same mental capacity for lust and fantasy, and the same relational needs that have always driven men and women to seek sexual pleasure and intimacy. As Ecclesiastes says, "there is nothing new under the sun," except maybe the vast array of new toys.

Exclusivity

Many studies have confirmed what biblical commandments imply. That is that becoming one flesh with one partner provides the best setting for satisfying sexual intimacy. Sex is neither a spectator sport for group indulgence nor an event to test a person's ability to score with multiple partners. Casual sex as a way to prove one's prowess or simply achieve physiologic relief of sexual tension only confirms that his or her ability to copulate is intact. Although providing some pleasure, it fails to meet the deeper need for intimacy that sex was designed to give.
A couple in a long-term committed relationship enters into a more secure and trusting territory with each sexual encounter. In that bed sex can truly become "making love" rather than just having sex. Multiple partners create mistrust, performance anxiety, and comparison evaluations that are barriers to the deepest levels of intimacy.

Mutuality

It is obvious to most couples early on that men and women are significantly different in their sexual interests and drives. Men usually have a desire for more frequent sex and greater variety in forms of sexual play. Women usually want more emotional connectedness through tender touch and conversation and prefer more consistent love-making technique. These differences often lead to tension over positions for intercourse, frequency of sex, and experimentation with different sources of stimulation.
This creates enormous opportunity for a couple to develop mutual submissiveness in their relationship. Each individual will have ways to show respect and give a meaningful gift of love to his or her mate. We feel that giving that respect to each other is a huge way to guide your choices of sexual play in the direction of genuinely mature love.
Doing only what is mutually agreeable sexually means that each partner will make sacrifices for the sake of intimacy. A wife may give herself more frequently or try a variety of sexual experiences that go beyond her comfort zone. A husband may relinquish some sexual fantasy or adjust his demands for intercourse twice a day just to show love to his mate. Those exercises in personal restraint are not easy, but help build the oneness of intimacy.
Specific behaviors that often fit this criteria are oral sex, rear-entry vaginal penetration, initiation of sexual activity, positions for intercourse, and mutual masturbation. We find no scriptural injunction against any of these or of frequency of intercourse. The Old Testament command of not having intercourse during a woman's menstrual period does seem to have the medical benefit of avoiding some infectious processes. Paul's admonition in I Corinthians not to withhold sex except by mutual consent seems to fit with this general principle of mutuality. It acknowledges the legitimacy of sexual desire and reinforces the boundary of sex within marriage.

Pleasurability

Sexual play should be enjoyable! If an activity you're doing doesn't bring enjoyment to both partners it will cause resentment and distance between you. That's not part of the design for "becoming one flesh." It may be that some forms of your sexual play create pain for one or both of you. That should be evaluated medically. If something is creating discomfort, it is probably treatable (such as vaginitis or painful erections). This can certainly produce barriers to intimacy.
At times couples may want to explore the areas of sado-masochistic sex or bondage fantasies. We feel that these behaviors move sex out of the arena of selfless love into that of power or domination fantasies. In those neighborhoods sex becomes an invasive, controlling behavior in which one person is violated. That is a sexual perversion and is likely to create shame, humiliation, and ultimate devaluation of one (or both) partners. When domination is a necessary ingredient for sexual pleasure there tends to be development of tolerance to the level of excitation. Hence increasing levels of the stimulation are required for the same sense of gratification. This is seen in its extreme in pornography that includes rape and even murder as forms of sexual stimulation.

Relationality

Duh! You might think. Well, of course, sexual intimacy includes a strong relational component.
Unfortunately, that ain't necessarily so. One of the most destructive forces we're seeing these days is the increasing frequency of sexual addictive disorders. When having sexual release becomes an addiction driven to levels of compulsive behavior, the relationship with a marriage partner may be replaced with various stimuli that are essentially fantasy based. We have seen men deeply hooked on Internet pornography (or other forms). They are compulsively driven to increasing exposure to pornographic stimulation and masturbatory release of sexual tension. We have seen women equally hooked on romance novels or chat-room sex talk for sexual release. These disorders displace the relational dimension of sexuality.
Marital sex, if maintained at all, takes place mechanically with mental fantasies from the artificial relationships providing the only sexual stimulation. That robs marriage of the most crucial part of intimacy—the blend of relational and sexual connectedness.
The use of pornographic films from whatever source introduces this possible danger into your sexuality. Explicit sexual materials can provide sexual excitement and arousal, but that form of stimulation may erode your enjoyment of each other. Those images may also create a basic sense of dissatisfaction with yourselves since most couples don't maintain or ever achieve the sensual appearance of porn actors and models. The whole industry is based on illusions and those lies can lead to death of your relationship as well as your sexual satisfaction.

Perpetuating Genital Union

We delight in sexual playfulness and creative ways to pleasure one another, but unless it is not physically possible for a couple, we think nothing you do should completely replace genital union. The symbolism of having the embrace of vagina to penis and total giving of the erect penis to the welcoming vaginal canal is a recurring reminder that we were created for each other. The intimacy of that connectedness should awaken our most primitive desire for oneness. To enjoy sexual release in that most passionate form of embrace welds us into oneness like few other experiences.
Melissa and Louis McBurney, M.D., Real Sex columnists for Marriage Partnership, are marriage therapists and co-founders of Marble Retreat in Marble, Colorado, where they counsel clergy couples.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Science of a Happy Marriage

Why do some men and women cheat on their partners while others resist the temptation?
To find the answer, a growing body of research is focusing on the science of commitment. Scientists are studying everything from the biological factors that seem to influence marital stability to a person’s psychological response after flirting with a stranger.
Their findings suggest that while some people may be naturally more resistant to temptation, men and women can also train themselves to protect their relationships and raise their feelings of commitment.
Recent studies have raised questions about whether genetic factors may influence commitment and marital stability. Hasse Walum, a biologist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, studied 552 sets of twins to learn more about a gene related to the body’s regulation of the brain chemical vasopressin, a bonding hormone.
Over all, men who carried a variation in the gene were less likely to be married, and those who had wed were more likely to have had serious marital problems and unhappy wives. Among men who carried two copies of the gene variant, about a third had experienced a serious relationship crisis in the past year, double the number seen in the men who did not carry the variant.
Although the trait is often called the “fidelity gene,” Mr. Walum called that a misnomer: his research focused on marital stability, not faithfulness. “It’s difficult to use this information to predict any future behavior in men,” he told me. Now he and his colleagues are working to replicate the findings and conducting similar research in women.
While there may be genetic differences that influence commitment, other studies suggest that the brain can be trained to resist temptation.
A series of unusual studies led by John Lydon, a psychologist at McGill University in Montreal, have looked at how people in a committed relationship react in the face of temptation. In one study, highly committed married men and women were asked to rate the attractiveness of people of the opposite sex in a series of photos. Not surprisingly, they gave the highest ratings to people who would typically be viewed as attractive.
Later, they were shown similar pictures and told that the person was interested in meeting them. In that situation, participants consistently gave those pictures lower scores than they had the first time around.
When they were attracted to someone who might threaten the relationship, they seemed to instinctively tell themselves, “He’s not so great.” “The more committed you are,” Dr. Lydon said, “the less attractive you find other people who threaten your relationship.”
But some of the McGill research has shown gender differences in how we respond to a cheating threat. In a study of 300 heterosexual men and women, half the participants were primed for cheating by imagining a flirtatious conversation with someone they found attractive. The other half just imagined a routine encounter.
Afterward, the study subjects were asked to complete fill-in-the-blank puzzles like LO_AL and THR__T.
Unbeknownst to the participants, the word fragments were a psychological test to reveal subconscious feelings about commitment. (Similar word puzzles are used to study subconscious feelings about prejudice and stereotyping.)
No pattern emerged among the study participants who imagined a routine encounter. But there were differences among men and women who had entertained the flirtatious fantasy. In that group, the men were more likely to complete the puzzles with the neutral words LOCAL and THROAT. But the women who had imagined flirting were far more likely to choose LOYAL and THREAT, suggesting that the exercise had touched off subconscious concerns about commitment.
Of course, this does not necessarily predict behavior in the real world. But the pronounced difference in responses led the researchers to think women might have developed a kind of early warning system to alert them to relationship threats.
Other McGill studies confirmed differences in how men and women react to such threats. In one, attractive actors or actresses were brought in to flirt with study participants in a waiting room. Later, the participants were asked questions about their relationships, particularly how they would respond to a partner’s bad behavior, like being late and forgetting to call.
Men who had just been flirting were less forgiving of the hypothetical bad behavior, suggesting that the attractive actress had momentarily chipped away at their commitment. But women who had been flirting were more likely to be forgiving and to make excuses for the man, suggesting that their earlier flirting had triggered a protective response when discussing their relationship.
“We think the men in these studies may have had commitment, but the women had the contingency plan — the attractive alternative sets off the alarm bell,” Dr. Lydon said. “Women implicitly code that as a threat. Men don’t.”
The question is whether a person can be trained to resist temptation. In another study, the team prompted male students who were in committed dating relationships to imagine running into an attractive woman on a weekend when their girlfriends were away. Some of the men were then asked to develop a contingency plan by filling in the sentence “When she approaches me, I will __________ to protect my relationship.”
Because the researchers could not bring in a real woman to act as a temptation, they created a virtual-reality game in which two out of four rooms included subliminal images of an attractive woman. The men who had practiced resisting temptation gravitated toward those rooms 25 percent of the time; for the others, the figure was 62 percent.
But it may not be feelings of love or loyalty that keep couples together. Instead, scientists speculate that your level of commitment may depend on how much a partner enhances your life and broadens your horizons — a concept that Arthur Aron, a psychologist and relationship researcher at Stony Brook University, calls “self-expansion.”
To measure this quality, couples are asked a series of questions: How much does your partner provide a source of exciting experiences? How much has knowing your partner made you a better person? How much do you see your partner as a way to expand your own capabilities?
The Stony Brook researchers conducted experiments using activities that stimulated self-expansion. Some couples were given mundane tasks, while others took part in a silly exercise in which they were tied together and asked to crawl on mats, pushing a foam cylinder with their heads. The study was rigged so the couples failed the time limit on the first two tries, but just barely made it on the third, resulting in much celebration.
Couples were given relationship tests before and after the experiment. Those who had taken part in the challenging activity posted greater increases in love and relationship satisfaction than those who had not experienced victory together.
Now the researchers are embarking on a series of studies to measure how self-expansion influences a relationship. They theorize that couples who explore new places and try new things will tap into feelings of self-expansion, lifting their level of commitment.
“We enter relationships because the other person becomes part of ourselves, and that expands us,” Dr. Aron said. “That’s why people who fall in love stay up all night talking and it feels really exciting. We think couples can get some of that back by doing challenging and exciting things together.”
Tara Parker-Pope’s new book is “For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage.”

A version of this article appeared in print on May 11, 2010, on page D1 of the New York edition.www.marriagefamilyalive.gnbo.com.ng

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Overcome These Communication Problems And Reclaim Your Marriage

Anyone who’s ever read a relationship advice article or a marriage help book knows that couples communication is an essential part of a healthy marriage or relationship. A large percentage of the couples who seek out my services communicate ineffectively and the goal becomes teaching them the communication skills needed for a more harmonious and fulfilling marriage.
Think of communication as the bridge that joins two separate souls and creates emotional intimacy—it helps solidify the “we” of your relationship. When communication falters, it can feel like you and your partner are living separate lives under the same roof.
Here are three common communication problems couples often struggle with—see if any of these apply to your marriage:
1. Poor timing
You just walked in the door from a long, stressful day at work and your husband bellows, “We need to talk!” For the next ten minutes he spells out his version of what is needed to get the marriage back on track and stop the incessant arguing that has become an unwelcome guest.
As you can probably tell, in the above example, the timing of this discussion is problematic. Whenever possible, discussions about sensitive issues should be planned. Ideally these conversations should occur when you and your spouse/partner can give your undivided attention to the topic at hand.
2. Not listening to the longing behind your spouse’s/partner’s message
Jennifer’s husband Steve seemed distant and unsupportive after Jennifer received a big promotion at work. She became upset with him and they started arguing about everything that ever went wrong in their marriage of sixteen years.
On the surface, Steve appeared sullen and unsupportive, but simmering right below was anxiety that Jennifer wouldn’t need him any longer. While unable to articulate it at the moment, Steve needed reassurance that Jennifer still needed and valued him, even when she earned more money than him.
3. Assuming you know what your partner needs
Samantha complained that Hector rarely listened to her. Part of the problem was that Hector would immediately voice his opinion or offer suggestions whenever Samantha talked about the stress of her job as a nurse. As a result, she often felt unheard by her husband and she began to withdraw from him.
Hector’s intentions were good, but he was missing the mark. To get their communication back on track, I coached Hector to ask his wife this simple yet powerful question:
“What do you need from me right now?”
This had a dramatic, positive shift in their relationship, since Samantha now felt listened to and Hector was given a clear blueprint for what his wife needed (rather than just assuming what she needed).
Couples Communication Resources
Are you ready to make effective couples communication a regular part of your marriage or relationship?
Click the links below to learn about two powerful communication resources I created for couples:
The ABCs of Effective Communication E-Workbook
and
The Turbo-Charged Communication E-Workbook & Audio Program
Wishing you all the best,
Dr. Rich Nicastro
Download the PDF version of this articlewww.marriagefamilyalive.gnbo.com.ng