7 Things To Do On Valentines Day: Keeping It Simple

  Of all the things to do on Valentine’s Day, simplicity is key. This holiday gives a wonderful opportunity to enhance your relationship and build lasting memories. If you’re still trying to decide how to celebrate, I’ve listed seven ideal things to do for Valentine’s Day to keep the fire burning. 1. Flowers Don’t Fail – You can’t […]

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Value Alignment for Marital Bliss

If a couple shares a set of values, they are headed for marital bliss. However, when values are diametrically opposed, a relationship suffers. Your values system is what drives decisions and it is often based on a system that you inherited from your parents. These values are tied to specific subjects that you value honesty, a work ethic, responsibility, integrity and other drivers like children, family, privacy and stability. If these differ between a man and a woman in a relationship, conflict will strike at each and every turn. Let’s say you marry a person that does not value education, but you value education. You want to be a lifelong learner, but your partner does not. On the surface, you might be okay with that. Now, let’s think more deeply about it. In the twenty-first century, education is a must. That might mean the sky’s going to be the limit for you but not for your partner. Is your husband going to be okay with you making more? Is he going to be okay with you out-positioning him? It might make you devalue or disrespect him because he’s not a top earner and cannot compete with you in that area. While this is not an end- all example, it does highlight why values need to be aligned between you and your partner.

Be Proactive

 

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Be proactive, ‘Marriage Doctor’ tells couples

Known as “America’s Marriage Doctor,” Jacqueline Del Rosario is emphatic about the need for couples to pay attention to their relationship.

“Keep your relationship strong. Protect it from harm. Be proactive, not reactive,” Del Rosario told the Review in an interview last week.

Recognized by many as the nation’s leading advocate for healthy marriage relationships and marriage formation, Del Rosario said that a journey she went on as a result of her faith is the reason why she works in marriage education and family healing and strengthening.

“It was me hearing God telling me to change the things I need to change in the relationship. People always want to hold someone else responsible. But the truth is you change yourself, and everything else changes around you,” she said.

Del Rosario, who oversees federally funded marriage programs across South Florida, said everyone needs a mediator, and listening to the voice of God can be one step. She urges all couples to do an annual checkup.

Careers and other demands put strains on couples and their time together, but they still must “keep the main thing in their relationship as the main thing,” said the creator of the “Making Marriage Work” radio talk show, the Marriage Minutes Campaign and BestMarriageKeys.com. “Keep the things that have worked strong. Don’t let anything encroach on those things that are essential.”

Many couples struggle with marital conflict because they have lost the vision for their marriages, she noted. For newlyweds, she added, their first years together can be fraught with anxiety and tension as two people attempt to merge their individual lives into one shared union.

There are five keys to creating and maintaining a stable relationship, Del Rosario said.

Compatibility

As the main cornerstone of a relationship, compatibility can be defined by seven different traits that often intersect.

First is marital beliefs, which are expectations in a relationship that must be explored. Second is morals and values, which dictate “what you want and where you will go. How can two people travel together unless they agree on this? Your morals and values are central to compatibility.”

Third is family, with couples needing to discuss how they see the composition of their family and how they will raise their children. Fourth is finances, which can become a stumbling block for couples if they are not in agreement on how to address issues that arise. Fifth is sex and intimacy, with people having differences in expectations.

Sixth is disagreements, with various approaches to dealing with such challenges. “I married a man who never saw his parents argue. So he saw disagreement as confrontational and negative, which is not true. When we talk about background and history, it translates through our relationships and colors our perception and perspective,” Del Rosario said.

The last area, religion, can cause strife and struggle in a relationship, especially when children enter the picture if one person practices his or her religion and the other doesn’t or if there is a distinction between them, such as one being Baptist and the other Catholic or one being Jewish and the other Christian, for example.

“In a relationship, we’re taking two different lives and backgrounds and trying to make them one. Any time that can become more seamless through agreements on our expectations, the better it can be. … People don’t really talk about these things. When they do talk about them, they need to talk from a discovery and solution-based perspective.”

Authenticity

Men are trying to figure out how to be themselves, how to express their emotions, while women are prone to “putting on masks as well,” Del Rosario said. “We want to be what people like us to be, but authenticity is a freeing of self that allows you to be who you really are and also brings a consistency in the relationships. When there’s cracks and you’re not free to be yourself, there’s anguish and inner turmoil. So being loved for who you are is critical.”

Communication

Couples may need to learn to communicate properly. It doesn’t always mean a big production, Del Rosario said, but can be just “talking things out.”An example she gives is: “Listen, things are going well. I want to maximize our relationship, see things get better and stronger.”

Intimacy

The first few years, she said, a couple shares on a surface level. Intimacy is part of the notion of “loving somebody truly unconditionally. Intimacy, when you’re authentic, being yourself and giving your real self, shifts the relationship to a place where you’re completely accepted and completely accepting, and you’re loving things about that person that you didn’t even know before.”

People don’t stay the same, she said, and a part of intimacy is the evolution of a relationship. “Every day you become a different individual. … We have to accept that evolutionary process and understand we don’t lose anything from it. People (often) want things to be the same. But that’s improbable, unrealistic and not healthy.”

Acceptance

Accept that things are not always going to be ideal, Del Rosario said. People sometimes let one thing overshadow a good marriage — like a bruised thumb that hurts every time it is touched. “Acceptance is accepting the good, bad and ugly and recognizing that it is a part of life. Accept and allow the person to be who they are.”

 

7 Ways To Say I Love You

7 Ways To Say I Love You

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. This holiday gives a wonderful opportunity to enhance your relationship and build lasting memories together. If you’re still trying to decide how to celebrate, I’ve listed seven ideas of things you can do to keep the fire burning.

 

  1. Flowers – You can’t go wrong with flowers. From the single rose to an elaborate bouquet, flowers always communicate love and affection. For us ladies with a non-traditional flare, we know that this idea isn’t only for us. Some men really enjoy flowers, too.
  2. A Card – It’s simple, but powerful—especially if you’re not very romantic or good with words. A card can say all the right things in all the right ways. If you’re apart during the holiday, send a card in the snail mail. This shows that you put in effort and forethought. But if you’re scrambling at the last minute, an Ecard will get the job done and some options even allow you to personalize with photos, video, audio, etc.
  3. Intimate Dinner – Love is best nurtured through quality time. That’s why this traditional method never gets old. If the two of you are always on the go, it will be great to slow down for the evening, get caught up, and spend some valuable time together.
  4. Chocolate – They only come once a year, but the big chocolate hearts are an all-time favorite. Even if they don’t like chocolate, the stuffed teddy bear and assorted flavors get your lover instant popularity in the office.
  5. Say it. – Sometimes we’re making big, elaborate plans and neglect the power of simplicity. Steve Wonder said it best, “I just called to say I Love You. I just called to say how much I care!” Texting is great, but saying it is even better. You can even spice things up and learn to say I Love You in another language…Te amo! (Spanish)
  6. Call A Truce – If you and your mate have been a war, you should declare a truce. Decide to spend the day without pushing negative buttons or hitting below the belt.
  7. Take A Walk Down Memory Lane – Even though time has a tendency to change the dynamics of a relationship, it’s always nice to remember the beginning of your relationship. Try pulling out photo albums or watching your wedding video. Laugh, smile, and enjoy your shared experience.

 

We all know how fast Valentine’s Day passes. Therefore, I recommend that you don’t just choose one of these, but over the next few weeks continue to use these ideas to keep the passion burning between the two of you.

 

Warmly,

 

Dr. Jacquie Del Rosario

America’s Marriage Coach