Believe it or not, we get married because of five diverse feelings: feeling in-love, feeling like friends, feeling sexual about each other, feeling like family, and feeling like we want to help each other. Each of these feelings triggers neurotransmitters and hormones in our bodies to create a “need” to be with our partner. If that is so—and it’s been scientifically proven—then why does money play such a big part in today’s marriages? Is there, like, say, a “money hormone” that’s got to get triggered, too, for a long-term relationship to work in the modern world?
No. Rather, money, in a pay-to-play society does a lot to determine whether we’re going to be an effective couple. That’s because money helps us solve some of the problems that take modern day stress off our backs. To put it differently, the stress of modern life makes any relationship difficult at times. Even just being friends can be tough when you’re under stress.
There are so many stressors today that they can add up so high that it can knock a person over. Like the traffic stop after the insurance company fails to tell you that your car insurance check never got to them on the day that your boss tells you that your position is going to be eliminated. When we have enough money to cushion ourselves from these sorts of issues, it gives us more time and energy to feel the five feelings of love and to enjoy our relationship with our partner.
Across America, more and more people are acknowledging this–that money is central to their vision of a successful marriage. So they are waiting until their careers are well established before getting married. As far as companionship goes, they are learning to get by with the help of their friends. And twenty percent of the women are not going to get married and have a baby–as hard as they may try. They feel they are either too poor to be a success at marriage, or they get so involved in their careers that they just give up the thought of having a child. Some, of course, simply cannot conceive any children. Meanwhile, because of modern technology, age thirty is no longer the time the the biological clock stops.
But there is more going on here than what meets the eye. As we all know, the very nature of family and work is changing. Along with these social changes, the nature of marriage is changing, too. It is no longer a social contract with defined rules. Rather, each couple decides on their own what their relationship will be like.
So play it smart. Don’t be afraid to discuss your money concerns with your lover. This is an import part of building a relationship in today’s world. If you need a conversation starter, say that you think you’ve got the marriage, money hormone running through your veins! That’ll catch even the most distant lover’s attention.
With all the media attention being focused on the politics of the moment, most analysts have overlooked one of the most defining characteristics of the Obama presidency: His marriage. Yet even the casual observer cannot help but notice the Obamas’ friends-and-lovers-too relationship. That’s the image they project whenever they are in public together.
Certainly if you are under forty years old, and you saw the Minnesota hand bump, you took it as a sign of two best buddies celebrating. We have to look deeper, however, into the American psyche to understand why people see the Barak and Michelle Obama as role modeling the ideal American marriage.
People identify with the Obama marriage because lovers, who are best friends, are the type of couple that we admire most. So we notice that the Obamas are relaxed and spontaneous when they are in the public eye. And we acknowledge that they actually are having fun together despite the demands of their positions as president and first lady. Americans also realize that they share similar goals, including raising their children in a nurturing environment. Yet their relationship goes much deeper than what we see in the video clips.
On the night that Barack and his team of advisors decided to make the run for the presidency, Michelle was there as Barack’s supportive best friend. She knew him so well that she interrupted the politicking and asked him right in front of everyone what he hoped to achieve by making a run for the White House. That forced Barack to cut to the chase.
The future president pondered the thought for a moment, and then he said he wanted to make America a place where every child could fulfill his or her dream. As an afterthought, he added that every child in the world should have a similar opportunity. After hearing that, no one in the room could back out or back down. And the race was on. The team had discovered its mission with the help of Michelle Obama, who had prodded Barack—her best friend—to either get it on or get over it–the idea of running for president. This is just one of many examples of how the Obamas’ friendship relationship works in uncanny ways.
In their pressure-cooker world, their combined social and verbal skills help them discover a shared purpose, founded on shared values. This doubles their power to make good decisions in their domestic and public life, as well as with their careers. It also gives them a common ground on which their romantic relationship is played out.
• Mutual trust and cooperation
• Emotional honesty
• Encouragement for expressing one’s true feelings
• An active listening processes where they hear each other out
• Support for each other’s goals and emotional growth
• A collaborative helping process whereby they solve problems together
• A sense of equity that both partners really matter
• Mutual affirmation and self-validation
• Common concern and care for their children
• Supportive mutual friends
• Celebrating their successes together
That is an unusual list of qualities for a romantic relationship. Yet it shows the kinds of attributes that it takes to support a low-stress romance when you have a high-performance career.
Some people find the Obama marriage easy to imagine. Others see it as a long-term solution to the problems that they keep repeating over and over, ad infinitum, in their relationships. But if you’re under twenty-six years old and single, you might be moving too fast to imagine being friends with your lovers. Or, if you’ve loved and lost, and are bitter about it, you might be put off by other’s successes. Still, there is a lot you can learn from the example they set.
Barack and Michelle Obama show what is possible to achieve in a romantic relationship. And just because they are rich and famous, you should not take the stand that you couldn’t do it too. You can have a relationship like the Obama marriage if you work on developing certain relationship skills.
To have a relationship where you are friends with your lover, follow these guidelines:
• Look at your current and past relationships as learning experiences
• Treat your partner like you would like to be treated
• Don’t hold grudges and don’t keep a list of your partner’s faults
• If you get angry with your partner, let it go after you cool down
• Learn to feel confident and relaxed around your lover
• If there’s a problem, talk it over and try to find a solution together
• Be honest with your partner or else admit that you are with the wrong person or are not ready for a mature relationship
• Stay away from potential partners whom you do not trust
• Realize that crazy love passes and transforms in to reward love or it fades away completely
• Understand that true love means feeling rewarded to be around your partner
• Realize that you might meet the perfect person yet not be ready for developing the perfect relationship
• Stop searching for ‘the One’ and start learning intimate communication skills
• Realize that sex and love are only half of a great relationship and that you’ll eventually get tired of your partner if you are not friends
• Realize that feeling like family with your lover is one of life’s most rewarding experiences
• Know that you can’t expect your partner to change just because you demand it
• Get married to celebrate a great relationship, not because you feel obligated
These relationship understandings are not that hard to learn if you work on one of them at a time. Remember, you have to move at your own speed in developing a meaningful, exciting, best-buddies partnership. Above all, you have to realize that the hardest part of achieving a friends-and-lovers-too relationship is taking the first step and truly believing that you can do it. If you believe in it, you’ll see over time that you’ll attract partners who believe in being best friends with their lovers just like you.
-Dr Billy Kidd
In an interview with Dr. Billy Kidd, author Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill explained what it takes to make your marriage exciting and meaningful.
BK: In your book, you said a couple has to have a sense of a team spirit to have a great marriage. How can a couple discover that? Or is team spirit something that comes instinctively?
SO: Team spirit is something that develops as a couple comes together–though talking, dating, or living together. Without it, couples shouldn’t get married. There are, of course, different levels of a team spirit, and it can be crushed or shut down. When couples come to me, we have to get it up and going. It’s behind the reason they got married.
BK: You talk about how important it is for a couple to find an activity that both partners can do together. I mentioned this to Bruce Cadle, the Date Night Chef, and he said that a weekly shared meal, which becomes a ritual, adds meaning to a marriage.
SO: Right. But it’s not about trying to capture what you did before marriage. Rather, it’s something you share together. It doesn’t have to be a meal. It could be bowling. But if you know that even during the busiest week you are going to come together and do whatever it is that you do–that’s what adds meaning to a marriage.
BK: Do partners have to be great friends to have a great marriage?
SO: You should hope that you are able to treat your spouse nicer than anyone else in the world. And your spouse should be someone you share everything with, and should keep your secrets.
BK: Right, and as your best friend, there are things that only your husband knows.
BK: You talk about couples having their own time and method of making a daily connection. Do you work with young adults who connect daily by text messages, and how does that work for them?
SO: I’m seeing more and more of that. And my concern is what does it do to you if you feel you can never get away, never be on your own? I also see young women who say they are in love, or dating, or feel that they will marry someone, but they are annoyed that this person is staying in touch mostly by text messages. The women feel they are losing–or simply don’t have–a special connection to the man.
BK: Right, the out-of-touch-feeling. You also say in your book that it is important for a couple to celebrate their successes. Why is that?
SO: In my work with couples, I have come to see it as a highly motivating behavior. It really keeps things going in the relationship.
BK: You also said that “A good marriage is about new dreams. Things cannot stay the same; you must be able to change.” Do people understand that when they get married?
SO: When you’re young and get married, and you have all your dreams and hopes in front of you, you don’t see the bigger picture. But you learn, hopefully, to do a lot of creative brainstorming together as things in your relationship change. That’s because you can get stuck in a marriage. You might come into it thinking, “I’m going to be a stay-at-home mom,” and ten years down the road see that it isn’t good for you.
BK: So you teach creative brainstorming?
SO: Yes, how to put everything on the table. Not shutting down each other’s ideas. And also knowing that the one thing we can count on in life is that things will change.
BK: You talk about the toughest time is when your partner hates you, but if you hang in there you’ll work through it. How do people work though hating each other?
SO: I know that hate is a strong word, but I think it happens in many relationships. You just can’t live with someone for a long time without going through something like that. So what I was thinking when I used the word hate in my book was that people need to acknowledge that something could happen. Things don’t stay the same. When couples come into my office, I try to get them off that hate-each-other track. I say, “Let’s forget that you hate each other. We all hate our spouses, at times. That’s fine. But have some faith, and let’s look at some of the things going on in your relationship.”
BK: You also mentioned that touching is an aphrodisiac. I’m curious how you figured that out. The research shows it, but I haven’t seen any popular writers put it that way.
SO: Yes, but touching is different than having sex. It’s not an aphrodisiac everyday, of course, but it can lead to it. If you can count on it happening every day, a certain type of hug, or sitting on the couch together, by the end of that week, you might be more up for sex.
BK: What is interesting about this is that we have this stereotype that was handed to us by other generations that women want to cuddle and men don’t. But–this is unreal what the research shows–cuddling increases testosterone levels in both men and women, and raising testosterones increases the ability to get sexually aroused and have orgasm for everybody. Just cuddling!
BK: You’re welcome. On another subject, the age of first marriage is advancing, almost up to age 28 for men. And more people are not getting married despite the fact that they believe in it. They say they cannot afford it, so they are putting it off later and later. Do you see the effects of this new economy, this recession–how it is affecting marriage?
SO: The biggest trend that I have seen–and I did an interview on it for an article in the New York Times last year–is that people are coming to me who would have gotten divorced because they are ready to leave. But because their finances are difficult, they haven’t even been able to figure out a way for one of them to move out and have a separation. So they come to me saying, “How can we learn to live together in the same house when we cannot afford to live separately?”
BK: Right, I’ve heard that. I wanted to sum up be asking, what is your short take on how to create a great marriage? You know, for somebody just starting out.
SO: First of all you need to be honest with each other, so you can get to know each other better. And your goal would be to come together in your marriage with simple daily behaviors that you can count on from each other. These will give you a shoulder to lean on when things get tough. Part of the theme of my book is that the feeling of the trust, the feeling of security, of having this person you can count on–all of these things that do not seem important in themselves–if you figure out how to do a few of these behaviors, day in and day out, you can’t go wrong.
BK: That’s great. I’ll stay in touch. Thanks for your ideas on having a great marriage.
SO: You most welcome. It was great to be interviewed with someone like yourself. Keep up all your good work.
Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill, Ed.S., is the author of A Short Guide To A Happy Marriage. This transcript was edited for brevity.
Patricia Bubash, M.Ed., LPC, 1-27-11 § Some people say that the second divorce could not be as painful as the first one. But if they have never been through it, how would they know?
I talked to a lot of couples about this when I was researching my book, Successful Second Marriages. What I heard was a resounding, “It hurts!” They said that you need to learn from your first marriage, and then, hang in there in your second one until you get it right—not split up.
Our conversations were held in a variety of living rooms, kitchens, or family rooms. The degree of economic status of each home varied. But there was no difference in the degree of sincerity and commitment brought to the new relationship.
Without a doubt, they knew what worked and didn’t work the first time around. What they told me was that a little personal insight goes a long way. And accepting responsibility for your actions instantly improves the status of a marriage.
For instance, Derek and Colleen said, “Know what you contribute to the marriage, either positive or negatively.” Similarly, Max and Janet said, “Each of us has certain personality traits, good and bad behaviors, and expectations we have for our married life. Hopefully, you don’t think that you are perfect and your partner has all the faults.”
Similarly, Marcia suggested that the key to an improved marriage is not to let frustrations and anger build up: “In my first marriage, we did not talk about what was bothering us. We’d let it fester. My second husband, David, and I get whatever is bothering us out on the table for discussion. It could be as simple as a difference over a household expenditure or as serious as allowing his aging father to live with us. And whatever happens when you talk—don’t go to bed angry.”
David and Marcia were not alone in their advice to communicate emotions, annoyances, frustrations, discontent—whatever the problem—to your partner. So many people said that in their first marriage they had simply ignored their spouse’s signs of unhappiness. They foolishly thought the problem would resolve itself. Or they kept quiet about what was bothering them. So no one was working to resolve the issues.
The point here is that it is essential in any marriage that a couple learns how to express themselves to each other. The traditional rule that silence is golden does not apply to a happy marriage.
Paula knew this. She was determined that her second marriage would be one where she and her husband talked and shared whatever was on their minds—good or bad. She and her first husband had quit talking to each other long before the marriage was legally ended. She was convinced that her marriage with Steve would not be a repeat of the past. Before becoming Mr. and Mrs., she signed them up for membership with ACME.
That organization fosters marriage enrichment via a variety of activities. One activity is where couples gather in small groups and exhibit the sharing of positive communication techniques. Individual couples dialogue together, allowing their group members to observe, suggest, and encourage better communication.
A Licensed Professional Counselor, who is certified as a marriage and family therapist, gave me the bottom line on why second marriages fail. So many clients viewed the failure of their first marriage as not being their fault. It truly astounded her how these clients choose not to look back, gauge what went wrong, what role they played, what they really wanted in a marriage, and how much they were willing to give to married life?
As these second timers entered into another marriage they were no more insightful about the factors contributing to their divorce than when they married that first time! Their take on their divorce was simply this same old tired story that keeps the marriage-divorce cycle going: “I married the wrong person last time. This time my marriage will last forever because now I am marrying the right person.”
If you said that last time and this time, too, you can move toward a successful marriage by thinking of your partner being your best friend. Also, remember that you need quality time together to make a marriage work. You’ll also find yourselves enjoying lots of shared activities if you have a spiritual connectedness.
Having a common goal or activity is also vital to a second marriage. Whether it is planning a trip, starting a business, joining a couples’ bowling team, volunteering together, attending church, shared activities bring closeness, compatibility, and connectedness to a relationship.
The dynamics of planning for something and then accomplishing it together is different from the day-to-day activities of work, maintaining a home, parenting children, and paying the bills. Taking time out from the necessary things breathes freshness into marriage.
So plan together. For some it is an annual trip. For others it’s a date night, forming a card club, or taking dance lessons together. The point is to do something different and break out of the usual routine. It is also rewarding when you successfully plan for retirement together. Discussing travel plans, new hobbies, and where to live can be exciting.
Remember, accomplishing a goal as a couple is equivalent to being a team. As in a team, partners are working together, sharing ideas, decisions, thoughts, and the sense of together we can.
My book opens with the following old English proverb:
Marriage halves our grief
Doubles our joys, and
Quadruples our expenses
I believe the words of this adage speak to the positive side of having a soul mate, a partner, a husband, and a wife. Within a great marriage, we have a soul mate who supports us through grievous times, making the anguish seem less overwhelming. As a best friend, our partner delights in our joy, is glad for the pleasure we are feeling, and is pleased for our accomplishments.
If we are honest about our less than perfect self, support our partner when times are difficult, act like a best friend, set some goals as a couple, we will not only improve our marriage, but feel successful about the relationship we share with our partner.
Patricia Bubash received her M.Ed. in Counseling from the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Working with students and families has been her true calling for over thirty years. For more than twenty years she has presented workshops at the community college on a variety of topics relating to parenting issues, self-esteem, children, and divorce. Patricia is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Missouri and a Stephens Minister.
Patricia Bubash was interviewed about her book, Successful Second Marriages, on TV 4 – St. Louis. Further information can be found on her website: www.successfulsecondmarriages.com, by contacting her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through her Facebook page. Also, you can tweet her on Twitter.
Bob Quinlan 1-21-11 § A lady once barked at me for opening her door, yelling, “I can open my own door!” This simple act of courtesy, and attempted chivalry, was not appreciated. Rather, it was condemned.
Believe me. I wasn’t trying to imply that she couldn’t open the door, that I was physically stronger, or that she didn’t deserve to make as much money as me for doing the same job. I was just trying to be nice but was emotionally slapped for being kind. Do you think what she did encouraged or discouraged this sort of civilized behavior?
Let me tell you, I was determined not to let this angry, insecure, or over-compensating woman deter me from being a gentleman. I still walk to the outside of the sidewalk when I’m with my wife. I still refer to her as My Queen. Our sons have learned to stand when a lady arrives at or leaves the table. These kindnesses are appreciated by M’ Lady. She enjoys the kindnesses I share and recognizes that they are not a matter of control or superiority, but of caring and showing appreciation for all of the kindnesses she gives. She rewards my gestures, which encourages me to repeat these behaviors.
Our society has changed dramatically. Perhaps much of the gender confusion stems from the fact that women are starting to become the kind of men that they used to want to marry. And maybe some women consider men to be expendable. After all, women are not being protected in the safety of their fortified castles, anymore, and most households have women working outside of the home.
I have written a book, Earn It: Empower Yourself for Love. It is quite different from other relationship books. That is because it uses basic business principles and terminology understood by both women and men—who are seen as equals in relationships as well as in business.
Yes, you read that right—men can understand romance! Sometimes we treat our clients and co-workers better than we treat our personal partners. But just as we cannot successfully take our clients’ business for granted we cannot take our loving relationships for granted and still be successful in love. Anything taken for granted, including love, is vulnerable.
The point is that you can have more love in your life—if you deserve to have more love in your life—and you can empower yourself to receive it. But just as you must earn your rewards in business, you must earn your rewards in your personal relationships. Obviously, the more you fill your customers’ needs, the more of their business you will receive. But sometimes we overlook the fact that the more you fill your loved one’s needs, the more of his or her love you will receive.
In Earn It: Empower Yourself for Love, I focus on three primary principles:
- Love is an investment from which you are entitled to receive a fair and reasonable return—no more, no less. When you invest the behaviors necessary to earn the rewards, you empower yourself.
- Once you demonstrate the necessary behaviors, you earn a return on your investment. This will make you more valuable to your partner and s/he will reward you, partly to motivate you to meet her or his future needs. This will encourage you to reinvest in your partner—actions he or she will find to be self-empowering.
- The quality of the reward will be directly related to the quality of the investment. If you give less, you are allowed to receive less in return. The more you give, the more you are permitted to receive. You empower your partnership.
Love is earned logically. List some one-word synonyms or components of love, such as acceptance or respect. Did you think of caring, affection, passion, or devotion? Aren’t each of these earned or unearned? Isn’t acceptance earned or unearned? Doesn’t unconditional respect even sound absurd? If each of the components of love can be earned or un-earned, then their collective sum, love, can also be earned or un-earned. Love is earned logically.
Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as unconditional love. It is a very nice goal that we can all strive to achieve. But do you know anybody who practices truly unconditional love without getting anything at all in return? Love is so deep and involved that it requires some kind of feedback, reward, or nourishment to continue. Love does not exist regardless of its circumstances. Love may lead to reciprocation, self-satisfaction, respect from others, good karma, or a place in heaven. Love is not humanly unconditional in the long term.
Unconditional love implies that love will happen unconditionally—regardless of any conditions. It suggests that you are completely powerless regarding love. You are not that vulnerable. Once you accept that you can influence your feelings, you empower yourself. You cannot control love, but you can motivate others to want to love you. Likewise, you can motivate others to love you less. Love can be enhanced or reduced; love can be earned or unearned.
The acceptance that there is no such thing as unconditional love is extremely empowering. Once you make love a priority in your life, you can choose to demonstrate behaviors to earn more love and its many rewards. Acknowledging this principle allows you to decide whether you get a little bit of love in your life or a lot of love in your life. The choice is yours.
Once upon a time, you earned your partner’s love and commitment. Selling him or her was the easier part. The real challenge is to repeatedly re-sell to your partner, service him or her properly, to confirm your partner’s decisions to stay involved with you.
So, ask yourself: What have you done lately to re-earn your partner’s love? How are you motivating him or her to want to meet your needs?
Which perspective do you honestly feel will bring more love into your life: a) There is unconditional love and I will be loved no matter what I do or don’t do, or b) there is no such thing as unconditional love. It is up to me to earn it.
The choice is yours. The question is: What will you do to earn it?
Bob Quinlan is the author of newly released (6/10) Earn It: Empower Yourself For Love. Nine years of providing psychiatric nursing, combined with twenty years of medical sales experience, demonstrated to Bob that there are many similarities between personal and professional relationships. Earn It uniquely uses basic business principles and terminology to provide a common understanding of relationships for women and men. If you want to learn to maximize your relationships at work and home, get the book!
Bruce Cadle, 1-26-11 § Soon after my wife Valerie and I got married I noticed something that was not good. We stopped dating. We dated every weekend prior to getting married. But once we got married—maybe since we saw each other daily—we stopped. I don’t think it was intentional. It just happened.
The reason I noticed wasn’t because my calendar was clear on weekend nights. I noticed because it seemed like our romance was different … dwindling. Things weren’t bad, rather, they seemed slightly strained, dry, forced.
Valerie still remembers the day I came to her and said I want a date night—a time for us to focus special romantic attention on each other. We didn’t have much money, so going out to dinner once a week was out of the question. We decided to have a nice romantic dinner by candlelight at home.
It was great! We relaxed, talked, laughed, just like we did while dating before marriage. That simple decision to start having a consistent date night made a huge difference in our relationship. As our communications deepened, our hearts connected and our romance revved up.
We’ve been married 35 years now, and date night is still our favorite night of the week. Years ago I decided I should cook on date nights to give Valerie a night off. I started developing my own recipes and gradually increased my cooking skills. I started taking elegant dishes and simplifying them so I could prepare a multi-course dinner without stressing out.
Even though our kids are grown and our finances have improved over the years, we still prefer having date night at home. We can take our time and relax. Sometimes we talk for hours over a leisurely meal.
We make date night a priority in our schedules and say no to anything else that arises on Friday nights. We look forward to date night all week long just like we did before we got married.
A couple of years ago I started posting our date night menus on Facebook every Friday afternoon. I got lots of requests for recipes and began sharing them so that other couples could learn how to have fun, fancy, and easy date nights at home. Someone who enjoyed my recipes suggested that I should do a date night TV show. Their suggestion led to me being a finalist in the 2010 Food Network/Youtube Next Food Network Star competition.
Second only to the enjoyment that I get from our weekly date night’s is the enjoyment I get from helping other couples establish a weekly date night too!
Bruce Cadle is the author of Party For Two – Fun, Fancy & Easy Romantic Recipes from The Date Night Chef. Available on Amazon.com.
Everyone knows there’s a dozen ways to leave your lover. But if you feel ambivalent or confused, how do you know if it’s really time to go? For people who have been in a relationship for at least a year, there’s an easy way to figure it out.
Copy and print the list of questions below. Study them and then mark a yes or a no in front of each one. The questions are derived from the science-based Love Code. Your answers will reveal how much you and your partner love each other and how much potential there is in your relationship. If you’ve been together for a long time, it will show you if you’re growing together or growing apart. Ready? Here goes:
- Do I think about my partner without getting angry, or jealous, and want to be with him or her whenever I’m not out doing my own thing?
- Does it feel like my partner thinks about me quite a bit without getting angry or jealous?
- Do I trust my partner?
- Do I feel rewarded just to be around my partner, and do I get excited sometimes just because my partner shows up on the scene?
- Are there times that my partner looks excited when we meet?
- Do I talk to my partner about my sexual needs, and does my partner generally get it?
- Does my partner try out new things when we are in bed?
- Am I satisfied when the sex is over?
- Does my partner seem to be content when we’re done having sex?
- Does it feel like my partner is one of my good friends?
- Am I on my partner’s A-list when he or she wants to get together with someone to kick back and relax?
- Do I discuss my relationship only with people I trust rather than complaining all over town about it?
- Does my partner come to me when there’s a problem between us rather than holding it inside?
- Do I just let it go after I get angry with my partner?
- Does my partner forgive my mistakes, rather than reminding me of them?
- Do I see conflict as differences between us, not something lacking in my partner’s character?
- Does my partner acknowledge sometimes that we disagree without attacking me personally for who I am?
- Do I discuss my personal problems with my partner?
- Does my partner share his or her problems with me?
- Do I kick back and relax after I talk about my day with my partner?
- Does my partner loosen up after talking about a stressful event with me?
- Do I enjoy helping my partner when he or she asks for it?
- Does my partner look like he or she enjoys helping me when I ask for it?
- Does it really matter to me if my partner succeeds in life?
- Does my partner want me to achieve my goals on the job, at work, and at home?
- Do I tell myself I’d do it all over again because it’s hard to imagine being without my partner?
OK, that’s it! Now, count up how many times that you answered yes. Then, use the interpretive scoreboard below to help you figure out what it means.
- 21 – 26 Great Relationship – Keep it!
- 17 – 20 OK Relationship – Try a little harder to discuss what’s going on.
- 12 – 16 Troubled Relationship – Counseling could make it work better.
- 7 – 11 Almost Over Relationship – Get ready for the breakup.
- 0 – 6 Dead Relationship – There’s nothing to lose by leaving.
There are, of course, other ways to interpret your score. If you are feeling upset after reading this article, call someone and talk things over. If you have children, think of their safety before you decide to pack up and leave. Whatever you do, remember that it takes two people to make a great relationship work. You cannot make your relationship exciting and meaningful all by yourself.
If you’re thinking about leaving your lover after reading this, here’s something to think about: You don’t have to put someone down in order to go. Just go.
If you need help with your relationship, or just don’t quite get what’s going on with this check list, Contact Dr Billy Kidd.
Professionals: You can use The Relationship – Should I Go or Should I Stay? – Check List in your practice if you credit your copies to Dr. Billy Kidd @ BlameBilly.com.
By Elliott Katz What’s happened to modern men? Why are women so frustrated with them? Why is it that when a man takes a woman out on a date he can’t even decide where to go for a cup of coffee? What is going on with men that causes women initiate most divorces?
Today’s man often thinks he’s being sensitive and non-controlling by letting a woman take the lead and make the decisions. He thinks he’s pleasing her. He doesn’t realize that to the woman, he is shirking his responsibility to show leadership and make decisions, and depriving her and their children of the leader and guide they expect from a man.
Single women have told me that when they marry a man they are trusting him with their lives and that they cannot trust their lives to a man who won’t show leadership and make decisions. One divorced woman said that if her husband of 38 years had understood these basic but crucial truths, her marriage would not have disintegrated.
Why do so many men not know that women want strong men?
Many men today grew up without strong male role models. They came from divorced families or their fathers worked long hours. At school most of their teachers were women and on television they saw men portrayed as incapable buffoons.
Here are Key Traits of Being a Strong Man:
When a man sees a situation that needs to be dealt with, he should step forward and handle it. People admire those who step forward to handle difficult situations – and don’t wait for others to solve the problem.
To avoid accusations of being controlling, a lot of men have gone to the other extreme – they leave most decisions to the woman. A man needs to make his share of decisions and take responsibility for the outcome. One of the meanings of the word “manly” is being decisive.
Take responsibility for improving the situation. Don’t blame others. There is little sympathy for a man who blames a woman – even when he thinks she pushed him into it. People will say, “You’re the man. Why did you let it go on?”
Here are Tips for Women on Encouraging Men to Take the Lead:
Let him decide
If he asks you to make a decision, say: “You decide.” Then don’t say anything else.
Ask him to handle it
Ask him to take charge of handling a problem, but don’t tell him what to do. If he asks, say: “If you’re not sure, do research. That’s what I do.” Avoid contradicting him unless what he wants to do is damaging.
Tell him he made a good decision and how you appreciate when he takes charge and handles a problem. If he made a mistake, tell him what you learned from it.
Elliott Katz is the author of Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants, which is being translated into 21 languages in Europe, Asia and Latin America. When he discusses these ideas with women, they often ask how can they get their husbands, boyfriends and sons to read the book. One woman said she would tell her husband—read it and she’s waiting for him in the bedroom in her negligee.
Do you recognize the need for men to be strong in your relationships? Please share your thoughts Bethestrongman@aol.com
In order to have a successful relationship, we, as partners, both agree that we each have certain rights, as well as responsibilities, to uphold in our partnership. In accepting that reality, we affirm, to the best of our abilities, that:
• We will each accept responsibility for our own actions.
• We will assume that our partners tried the best they knew how when something goes wrong.
• If things don’t go our way, we won’t blame each other.
• We will accept the fact that stuff happens and that things in life don’t always go the way we wanted them to go.
• We will always attempt to find a common solution to our problems.
• When we cannot find a common solution to our problems, we will seek outside help.
• We will not sacrifice for each other, but rather, we will find a solution to our relationship issues that benefits both of us.
• We will never attack each other’s character or motivations.
• We will treat each other with common dignity even when we are angry.
• We will share our thoughts and feelings and will take time to discuss what really matters to us without withholding any of the essentials.
• We will check in with each other to see if either one of us is harboring fears that we have not yet articulated.
• We will look to the future and try to imagine how things will be when we have worked through our relationship problems and the real world issues that we are facing.
• We will work toward our shared vision of the future rather than harboring resentments about what happened in the past.
• We will not worry about our relationship, but rather, we will let our relationship lead us to discover new aspects of our selves and the world.
• In doing these things, we will treat each other as family and friends.
• If things are improving in our relationships, we will celebrate.
• If things are not improving in our relationship, we will seek help from a psychologist or another relationship professional.
• We will be optimistic about our relationship and see it as a win/win situation regardless of what happens and what the future brings our way.
These guidelines can give us direction in the future, and we can turn to them to affirm our relationship at any time. We understand that our relationship is a work in progress and that some of these rights and responsibilities will take time to actualize.
The Relationship Bill of Rights and Responsibilities is based on a study of high-functioning couples. Highlighted here are the things they do to make their relationships exciting and meaningful.
If you want to work toward learning how to do these things, let me show you how. Get my book, Low Stress Romance. It will simplify your journey. If you need help, Talk To Me about it.
*The Relationship Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. Copyright 2009 Dr. Billy Lee Kidd. From the book Low Stress Romance. Copy for personal use only. For commercial use, contact Romantic Relationship Institute, LLC.
What are the real facts about young adult relationships? If you can get some young people to talk about it, you will hear a common theme: It is very hard to find a partner for a serious, long-term relationship.
Some individuals say that it is so difficult that they have become ambivalent about relationships. Others say that singlehood may be the way to go. Yet the majority of young adults expect that a partner will appear in their lives at about age thirty–when they are ready for it. Until then, the world “commitment” is often not in their vocabulary.
These modern love behaviors really have little to do with a generational change in values. Rather, they reflect the social-economic revolution that is going on worldwide. In that context, young adult behaviors are understandable. But you have to get out and talk to a lot of young adults to fully appreciate what is going on.
In interviews across the U.S., young adults told me that there were seven things that made romantic relationships difficult and confusing for them:
- Society is Changing. Things are evolving so fast that the guidelines for romance that you saw in operation when you grew up do not work very well when you reach adulthood.
- Adult Statuses are Hard to Obtain. In today’s economy, making money and getting the full responsibilities of adulthood do not come easy. That is why individuals cannot commit to a relationship in the same time frame that their parents did.
- Female Economic Liberation. Young women often seek economic liberation rather than a husband. These young women are simply not willing to settle for a man who does not meet their expectations.
- Changing Demographics. There is a large segment of the population that is single. This makes it seem like there is some sort of liberating power in singlehood. Many young adults give this as a reason to put off serious relationships and marriage.
- Self Fulfillment. Seeking self-fulfillment stands in competition with serious long-term relationships. Young adults want to get out and discover the world and how they fit in it before they think about settling down.
- Lack of Male Role Models. Young men are not all that sure of what role they are supposed to play in today’s relationship environment. They face changing expectations from their friends, families, and female partners. Some say their fathers live in a different world and cannot offer much in the way of targeted emotional support. In response to this situation, many young adult men move cautiously when starting serious, long-term relationships.
- Mobilization of Relationships. In the modern world, people are on the go and so are their relationships. Both partners move at the same time while texting or calling on their cells. This takes place in the context of a digital, online social world. At the confluence of all this activity, friends often act as coaches in each-other’s relationships and group activities often replaces dating. This new cultural reality has put the brakes on the rush to marry someone who is not your friend and whom you do not really know.
When taken together, these issues make it difficult for young men and women to have serious long-term relationships. Yet they do not report feeling defeated or remorseful. Rather, they see opportunity. A majority of men and women say they are working on improving their intimate communication skills and earnest self-assertion. They have to work hard at communicating because they never know what to expect next in today’s constantly-changing world.
As we look at the future of modern love, nobody really knows what lies ahead for young adult relationships. Society will continue to change and so will their behaviors. That will be okay for those young adults who keep an open mind and strive to learn new communication skills. When individuals do these things, their relationships will be as meaningful and exciting as they care to make them.
For more on 21st century romance, go to my book Low Stress Romance.