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Thursday, 25 February 2010

5 Best Things to Do for Your Relationship

When it comes to love, relationships can be like cars: constant care and adjustment (instead of pricey and painful visits to the body shop/marriage counselor) are often the best way to improve and strengthen your bond. One of O's staffers gets the lowdown from the experts on five fixes to start making now.

1: "Stop all shame, blame, and criticism. Instead ask for what you want in a clear, specific, and positive manner, and express appreciation for your partner. To elaborate: Men need to feel competent—that they make a contribution and that it is noticed. They like to be told what 'behavior' makes you happy. Since men tend to express affection by doing things, you should interpret their actions as love. When men know what to do and are acknowledged for it, they tend to keep doing it." — Harville Hendrix, PhD, author of Getting the Love You Want

2: "Change from a critical habit of mind, in which you're very involved with your partner's mistakes, to a positive one, in which you catch him doing something right. Notice one small thing, and express genuine appreciation. That will change your interaction patterns from escalating negativity and criticism to building a culture of appreciation." — John M. Gottman, PhD, author of The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships

3: "When your relationship starts to break down, you need AAA: an Apology, Affection, and a promise of Action. You say you're sorry for what you've said or done to hurt or disappoint your partner. You immediately offer a hug, a kiss—some meaningful gesture of warmth. You pledge to do something that matters to your partner ('From now on, I will…'). And, of course, you stick to that. This whole AAA thing can take two minutes, but in that time you've healed the past, built a bridge to the present, and created hope for your future." — Mira Kirshenbaum, psychotherapist and author of The Weekend Marriage

4: "With books on the market like How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, one of the greatest services you can do for a guy is to reassure him that he doesn't have to make love like a porn star. You can show him how to have sex like a woman: creative, sensual, non-genital-based, and more pleasure- than orgasm-focused. Lead him to an experience that goes beyond his penis and makes him fully engaged—mind, body, and soul." — Ian Kerner, PhD, author of She Comes First

5: "All relationships grow a bit stale as time goes by, and the longer-lasting they are, the staler they can get. The best thing you can do is pump in some fresh air. A long weekend in a romantic hideaway would be ideal, but even a few hours in a motel helps. Don't tell anyone where you are, turn off your cell phones, and unplug the TV. When you get home, you'll find your relationship has acquired ruddy cheeks." — Dr. Ruth Westheimer, psychosexual therapist and author of 52 Lessons on Communicating Love


8 Tips For Couples - How to Quarrel Right and Efficiently

An eastern proverb says: love birds are quarreling -- just having fun. Indeed, they do right thing, because lack of arguments and conflicts between the two is not yet a guarantee of a mutual happiness, but likely is an opposite case. A large portion of divorces and break-ups happens to the couples, which do not resolve conflicts in an argument, but instead silence them down. Offenses and misunderstandings are piling up and turning into a stable mutual grudge. Besides, reserved and quiet people suffer from a higher degree of stress, because they lacking Cortisol, a hormone released by the cortex (outer portion) of the adrenal gland. Cortisol is produced during hot arguments and blocks the stress. Psychologists came to agreement that most happy couples are those, which has regular light arguments: of course, such arguments must not cross certain lines. In Germany, for example, some family counselors teach young couples to argue right. It is always important to follow the rules of a good argument. Here are 8 useful tips:

Tip 1: Squabble is better to quench at the beginning. Just say: "Wait, I just recalled ..." and after this tell some important stuff about someone from your close circle (let it be even complete baloney - you will work something out later). For example, say that Johnson has final break-up with his girlfriend; or say that mom called and said that her water heater exploded. Or do something unexpected - blow a whistle with two fingers or make a back flip (note: your act must carry nothing offensive or aggressive, for example, do not toss into window her collection of Maureen Dowd books). Recall some super-urgent business, give her a kiss and leave the room with a promise to be back soon. Before coming back you better call her and make sure that she chilled out.

Tip 2: Be specific. Never generalize when you are arguing. Statements like "you are always rambling hell knows where", "it is impossible to find anything in this house" or "all your girlfriends are brainless cows" will be taken as an unjust offense, even if they are true as 2 x 2 = 4. Be specific in your argument. Say instead: "you are three hours late", "where did you put the bottle opener?" or "I think, Jessica is saying total bullshit" - this will allow you to express your feelings without any offensive generalizations.

Tip 3: Do not rush to deliver last year news. She knows well even without you, that a year ago she purchased this stupid Tiffany lamp. As well as you already heard before that in 2001 you didn't send her mom a postcard on Columbus Day. Try to dig out something fresh for your arguments.

Tip 4: Follow the grammar. Are there just two of you? Then talk about "you" and "me", and not about abstract "people" or "somebody". Here are several examples: "This is ridiculous!" that's bad, "I don't like that you just said" - that's good. "Only complete idiot will eat this crap" - bad, "I hate frozen beans" - good. "I am not going to explain anything to anyone!" - bad. "I feel like you don't want to understand me" - good.

Tip 5: Do not use question "Why?" Because during the argument, when feelings are boiling, you will get the only answer: "Because!" There will go all your talk ...

Tip 6: Start your argument immediately. If you do not like something, say it right away, do not take a week for reflections. The faster will be your reaction, the faster the conflict will be resolved.

Tip 7: Do not play solo. You've said your part? Give her a chance to say hers, who knows, maybe she will say something reasonable. In any case, look into her eyes when she speaks. Women hate talk to stubborn backs and sarcastic profiles. Men, actually, do too.

Tip 8: Each one should get a glass of some cold drink. Not for pouring the contents into each other's faces, but for taking breaks in the quarrel and chilling out. Just in case, you better use plastic cups.