Saturday, May 3, 2008

"Knowing Your Partner"

Know your Partner:

1. Observe your partner in different situations

Find opportunities for your partner to socialize with your family, friends and colleagues so you can learn his/her behaviour in different social contexts.

2. Observe how your partner handles stress

See how your partner reacts in the face of tough decisions and stress.

3. Develop opportunities for your partner to open up

Ask questions during conversations to help you understand him/ her better. (E.g. Ask your partner about his/her childhood, thoughts, opinions, on things, etc.)

4. Take an interest in your partner’s emotional & physical health

Find out how your partner is feeling and be sensitive to those feelings. Knowing about his/her interests, family and cultural background can help you understand more about his/her social and emotional condition and physical health.

Know Yourself

To develop a meaningful relationship as a married couple, you need to know yourself as well as your partner in order for the both of you to learn to grow together.

Know Yourself

Steps to understanding and accepting yourself:

1. Self-reflection

Identify your values and priorities.
Identify your expectations and views.
Recognize your skills and abilities.
Recognize your likes and dislikes.
Recognize your strengths and weaknesses.
Recognize your preferences and prejudices.
Identify the significant events that shape you.
Identify the relationships that influence you.
Identify what is important to you (e.g. ambition).
What do you think of yourself?
What do others think of you?

2. Self-disclosure

Share your thoughts and feelings with others verbally.

3. Feedback from others

Be open to what people say about you.
Learn from mistakes and grow as a person.
Be in touch with your feelings.

Build Your Relationship

When your martial relationship is developed to its full potential, it is immensely satisfying and enriching for both of you.

Ways to develop your relationship:

1. Building trust

Confide and share with each other your hopes and fears. This helps create and maintain an atmosphere of trust, love and sensitivity in which both of you can learn more about each other.

2. Sharing confidences

Sharing your inner thoughts and feelings with each other will bring your relationship beyond the superficial level. It will also help you be sensitive to the needs and aspirations of your partner.

3. Handling differences

Understand the differences between you and your partner and learn to accept them. You should also define your roles and expectations early so that conflicts won’t arise later on.

4. Resolving disagreements

Be constructive when you deal with disagreements and don’t put each other down. Try seeing the positive value of being different.

Phases of a Marital Relationship

The marital relationship goes through predictable phases. While not everyone goes through these phases and they may not flow from one to another, understanding them prepares you to adapt to the changes and keep the relationship going.

1. The honeymoon phase

This stage is marked by ecstasy, fun, excitement, romance, charm and a preoccupation with your spouse. It usually fades as the marriage progresses.

2. The disenchantment phase

As you struggle with your spouse to resolve the conflicts that come with living together as a married couple, there will be some loss of marital bliss. This usually occurs when bringing up young children who demand a lot of care, attention and adjustments.

3. The reality phase

Couples who reach this stage have more or less settled down in their role as parents. You will have learnt to work out problems and frustrations with your spouse and accepted mutual responsibility in the relationship.

4. The maturity phase

You will have adapted to your spouse and developed a good understanding of each other. Your children will likely be of school-going age and family relationships are quite stable.

5. The golden phase

You and your spouse are likely to be retired and your children should have left school at this stage. You may have to relate to adult children, as well as sons and daughters in-law. You will also have to deal with taking care of each other in your old age and coming to terms with separation, loss and death.

Putting Passion In To Your Marriage

"Happily ever after","til death do us part", "endless love"-these are all phrases we recognize and can probably relate to in our marriage relationship. But what do they all mean? Read them again. All of these phrases refer to one thing- a long, long, long life together. As newlyweds we feel giddy, excited, passionate, so in love, romantic and turned on by one another, constantly. But what happens after 5 years? After 10, 20, 30 years? Well, some may say, it gets boring and stale. Some may say it always gets old or everyone ends up in adultery or divorce. This is just not true. Most people who are married WANT to be, but they don't always know how to keep the home fires burning. Perhaps the fire has dwindled down to simply smoldering or even ashes, but any marriage can return to a blazing hot fire in no time. Here are some suggestions:

Be romantic. That's easy said, but what does it mean? It can mean a lot of things. Mostly it means keep your partner in mind first and foremost. Think of his/her needs above your own. This will always lead to romantic gestures because putting your spouse's needs before your's causes thoughtfulness.

Use your imagination. Being romantic means kissing hello and goodbye every day, saying I love you often, lots of hugs, leaving love notes in his briefcase or on the bathroom mirror, drawing him/her a bubble bath, taking a bubble bath by candle light with him! Surprising him/her with coffee or breakfast in bed, bringing home flowers, writing a love poem about him/her and reading it to them, just sweet little things that say, "I care". Buy him something special for no reason.

Another big way to heat things up is in the bedroom. First of all, talk about it. Talk about sex?! Not just about sex, about YOUR sex! It may feel awkward at first, but it is very exciting and it makes you feel closer and want each other even more, plus when you know what the other likes, dislikes and wants, you can meet each others' needs better. And don't just talk, listen to one another. Dump the criticisms and (oh my, dare I say it...) name calling. "I told you so's" are OUT!

Date your spouse. You might say, "What do you mean, date my spouse? I'm married to him/her." Setting dates with your spouse will keep you feeling young and excited again.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, its easy to get lost in the jungle of life. If you want to relight the romance in you marriage, follow some of these suggestions, and your marriage will be on its way to a heatwave!

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