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It was my 12th birthday, and I was (in my mind) an aspiring guitar-playing rock star. All I lacked was the right equipment. You see, all of the ultra-talented hair bands of the time had huge stacks of black-boxed amplifier speakers that blasted their gnarly guitar solos.

So, I made it perfectly clear to my parents. For my birthday, I needed a guitar amplifier so that I could be a rock star. 

On the big day, my parents presented me with a smallish wrapped box. As I unwrapped the gift, disappointment ensued. Indeed, it was a guitar amplifier – one that could almost fit inside my shoe, battery-operated, and just a little bigger than my Walkman tape player. When hooked up to my guitar, it barely made a sound louder than the actual guitar itself. And made of red plastic. I never saw a rock star on stage with anything made of red plastic. Talk about expectation frustration. 

I can now see the problem in hindsight. My expectations weren’t clear enough. I told my parents I wanted a guitar amplifier, but I wrongfully assumed they knew exactly what I meant. I mean, it’s not like they knew anything about being a guitar superstar like me. Ultimately, it was an unspoken expectation.

Imagine how this can happen in a marriage! 

One spouse expects the other to cook dinner every evening. One expects the other to spend time with the kids on the weekends. One expects sex four times a week. The other expects regular time together talking about each other’s day after work. But nothing ever said outloud. 

And then, when dinner isn’t ready, the kids are left to entertain themselves all weekend, the daily conversations don’t happen and sex is not happening nearly often enough, expectation frustration takes over the relationship.

We all have expectations for our relationships. Expectations are good in the fact that they are formed in the hope for something good to happen. When we expect something to come out of a certain situation, like our marriage, normally it’s in the hope that some sort of value is created.

But expectation frustration happens when we assume that our spouse somehow knows what we want without us telling him or her. There are times when I think my wife should know exactly what I expect because we both want a good, healthy marriage. And if she wants a good, healthy marriage just like I do, isn’t it just common sense that her expectations should line up with mine? 

See the problem here?

It’s perfectly normal – and OK – that two people have different expectations for achieving the same goal of a healthy marriage. The main thing is that these expectations don’t go unspoken. It shouldn’t be assumed that our spouse is thinking the same thing we are. And so a healthy, safe space needs created in the relationship to regularly communicate what we hope and expect from each other.

Trying to share your hopes in an unsafe space is like, well, two large guitar amplifiers blaring incoherent sounds toward each other. You get nothing but noise that can’t be heard. A safe environment, however, creates the space for a couple to experience harmony.  Each person approaches the conversation with a spirit of listening to understand rather than getting what they want. No value judgments are put upon the other person’s expectations; rather, their opinion is affirmed, even if it’s not necessarily agreed with.

The goal of a safe space for communicating expectations is that these opinions can be shared with the idea of reaching common ground. 

The magical part of this is that, when both people feel they can safely communicate expectations, they often find just how much their goals for their relationship are in line with each other. When my wife and I sit down and calmly talk about what we hope from each other, I hear her heart for our marriage rather than her expectations overriding mine. And she hears the same thing from me.

Unspoken expectations are like an acid that has a corrosive effect on the relationship – they slowly eat away at the common goal for a healthy marriage. Take the time to create that safe space and talk about your hopes and dreams for your relationship. 

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Looking for more marriage resources? Click here!

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Celebrating Earth Day usually never crossed my mind because – I’m just going to say it – I kill plants.

Unintentionally, of course. But I’ll admit: my dad’s green thumb had not NOT passed down to me. So it’s no surprise that about 4 years ago, there was a pot full of soil sitting out on my back deck, the sad remnants of where a beautiful plant used to… ahem… barely survive. I had neglected it terribly and the empty pot was a constant reminder of how I was unable to provide the appropriate care and attention required for horticulture.

Then one fine day, I saw a tiny green bud poking out of the barren soil. The next day, I saw another bud and a stem sprouting up. By day three, there were three little green plants growing in the pot. A couple of helicopter seedlings from our large Maple tree had found their way to their new home. There was soil and some rainy days that allowed these little seeds to sprout!

I was pregnant with my first child at the time and saw this as a miraculous sign of the life also growing within me.

I was convinced that this was our “Family Tree” and when the little plant continued to thrive… my belief was confirmed. So, once our little girl was born and the baby tree was large enough to survive in the ground – we planted it, as a brand new family, on Earth Day.

Having a family tree planted in our backyard has provided the opportunity to talk with our daughter about our environment and how to take care of it. It melts my heart to see her innocent tenderness toward our family tree as they grow together! This Earth Day, why not teach your children how they can enjoy and nurture mother nature?

Here are 5 fun ways to celebrate Earth Day with your family!

1. Plant (and/or tend to) a garden:

Get your garden gloves on and your watering can out! Planting a garden can be a neat experience for any age. Younger kids can help water the garden or create colorful plant markers using craft supplies. Older kids can help plant seeds and pull weeds. When the fruits and veggies are ripe, everyone can pick them together! Working together to establish a garden can open up a bigger conversation about responsibility (for specific gardening tasks and for the environment as a whole).

2. Take a hike (or just a walk):

It seems like a no-brainer, but being out in nature is a sure-fire way to appreciate the beauty of our planet! Whether it’s a walk around your neighborhood, a local park or a more scenic mountain trek, your family can enjoy the scenery, as well as each others’ company!

3. Make the switch to reusable water bottles:

If you haven’t already ditched the plastic, now’s the time to grab a glass or BPA-free plastic water bottle to refill and reuse daily! A simple change like this can have a huge impact, not only on the environment but also your wallet: On average, Americans spend about $5 a week on bottled water which means you could save $260 per person, per year, by switching to a reusable water bottle. (For a family of four, that’s $1,040 in savings!)

4. Eat plant-based meals for the day:

Eating your fruits and veggies is not just good for your health; it’s good for Earth’s health, too. Even if it’s only for one day of the week (hello #meatlessmonday), skipping the meat and animal byproducts can significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, conserve water. It takes 2,400 gallons of water to product a single pound of meat! This frees up our land and resources. 30% of Earth’s land mass is used to raise animals to eat. Despite the fear of the unknown, cooking a meal without meat or dairy is extremely easy! There are so many recipes out there that even the pickiest of eaters will still enjoy, we promise!

5. Make some resolutions:

Just like New Year’s Eve, this holiday is the perfect time to set some goals for the rest of the year. Write a list of practical ways your family can conserve, recycle and reuse every day! Post your list somewhere prominent (like your refrigerator) as a reminder to keep the momentum going! Every change, whether big or small, will make an impact.

Spending some extra special time with your family, no matter what you’re celebrating, doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive or extravagant. The memories you make are priceless and will last a lifetime! Happy Earth Day!

Looking for more family resources? Click here!

“What are you thinking about?”

“Nothing…”

Sound familiar? Ever wonder what they’re really thinking about? Well, today, we’re going to find out. Usually, that “nothing,” actually means “nothing important,” and that can actually be a really fun place in their mind for you to see! It’s all about meaningless conversations!

Ask any couple, anywhere, at any time, what the key to a good marriage is, and there’s a near 100% guarantee they will mention communication in some way, shape, or form. Are they wrong? Not at all! Communication really is key to working your way through a whole lot of issues! But when communication is always focused on bettering the relationship, you’re missing out on a lot of fun, too.

Now, let me clarify this before we get too far into it. I am in NO way saying that the meaningful convos aren’t helpful. They are completely necessary to a fully-functioning, healthy relationship.

But hear me out on this: How many times have you looked at your partner and asked yourself, “We’ve been together for (fill in the blank) years now, so why don’t I feel like I know you as well as I used to?” Or maybe you have done an awesome job of having intentional, deep and meaningful conversations with your love, but something feels like it’s missing.

Well, good news for you. You might have stumbled upon the answer!! It just might be meaningLESS conversations: conversations that have nothing to do with the two of you (or anything else for that matter). They’re moments full of silliness, laughter, and fun where you and your partner truly connect. You get to learn more about your partner, you get to be goofy together, you find out things you’d never know otherwise, AND, most importantly, you both get a break from all the to-dos, the heavy topics, and the day-to-day crazies. You get a chance to fully enjoy your partner’s personality and company.

Still don’t get what I’m talking about? Here are a few questions you can ask your partner to get started. If you’re not used to asking questions like this, it might seem dumb at first. But I promise. It’s worth it.

  • If you were given $100,000 (totally tax-free and no strings attached) and had to spend it ALL this week (no investments or saving funds!) what would you buy?
  • If you could be any historical figure from the 15th century, who would you be and why?
  • What is your favorite scent? Does it have any memories attached to it? Would it make a good candle or not?
  • If you could instantly make one invention completely disappear from this world, what would it be and why?
  • If you could tell one thing to your great, great, great-grandson/daughter when they turn 16, what would it be?
  • Would you rather always have perfect hair or never run out of toilet paper?
  • What’s one thing your parents said to you that you will never forget?

Even though these types of questions have nothing to do with your relationship directly, you just might be surprised at how much a meaningless conversation here and there can do for the love you have for your honey.

Take some time today to let go of the heaviness of all the meaningful & important conversations. Instead, just sit and enjoy what your spouse has to say about the “nothings” of life!

Looking for more marriage resources? Click here!

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As I think back to when my children were first born, there are many memories that come to mind of being bombarded with all the things that babies need. I remember attending a presentation for a $1,000 high chair. It was implied that if I didn’t purchase the high chair, I really didn’t love or wasn’t very concerned about the safety of my child. And I’ll admit, I began to struggle with the paradox of what my child needs versus what I, in my parenting, want my child to have.

If I were keeping it totally honest, I really wanted that high chair. Not for all the safety reasons or the fact that it would grow with my child, but the honest truth was I thought it made me look good to others. I heard messages that said to be a good parent, you provide what your children NEED, but even more so what they WANT.

Let’s talk about this struggle.

I should’ve owned stock in LeapFrog due to the number of their electronic toys that I purchased for my son, only because they were educational and would help with his language skills, color recognition, etc., or so I thought. I felt so disheartened when I found him playing with an empty 2-liter bottle rather than the toys I bought.

That was a pivotal point for me. I recognized that I was seeking external approval from friends and family rather than looking inside, and I realized what I was really teaching my sons. While I had taught them that they could have everything they wanted, I never taught them that there was a difference between a want and a need.

I composed a list of things that my sons really need from me, emotionally. It included:

  • Love
  • Time with me
  • Support
  • Discipline (teaching)
  • Comfort
  • Consistency
  • Teaching them values of hard work, sacrifice, persistence, grit, etc.

That was the easy part. The hard part was changing the expectations and behaviors of my sons. Every time we went to a store, their expectation was to get something because they WANTED it. Really, they wanted it because I taught them to expect it by usually getting them something. They didn’t like the word NO.

After one especially rough trip, we had a meeting of the minds.

  1. I no longer took them to the store with me.
  2. I explained to them the difference between a want and a need in practical terms.

For example…

Need:  Food (home-cooked); Want: Eating Out

Need: Shoes; Want: $200 name-brand that you are going to outgrow in 3 months.

Need: Uniforms for school; Want: Name-brand pants that you are going to get grass stains in and holes in the knee.

You get the idea.

As I look back, I’m so glad I made that pivot.

Even though that $1,000 high chair was fancy, I can’t put a dollar value on the lessons learned. My sons have grown into young men who know their worth doesn’t come from things like the right shoes or clothes or cars. And when they start parenting, they will know the difference between a want and a need.

Looking for more parenting resources? Click here!

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Katty Kay is definitely not the only woman to fall into the trap of believing that if she doesn’t map everything out, things will fall apart while she’s away. In fact, more than likely, many women do the very same thing.

Kay is a British journalist, author, and broadcaster. She speaks often about the importance of confidence and competence in women.

Kay and her husband travel a lot. In the past, whenever she planned to leave town, she lined up extra babysitters and stocked the fridge. She made lots of lists of all the kids’ activities and such to ensure that her husband didn’t forget anything. At some point, she realized she went to all of this extra effort to prepare for leaving town, but when her husband went out of town, he just left. This irritated her a bit.

So, she talked with him about it. That conversation went something along the lines of, “Whenever I’m going out of town, I do all of this pre-prep for you to make sure everything gets taken care of. Yet when you go out of town, you do nothing.”

His response was, “Yes, you do, but I didn’t ask you to do that.”

The next time she went out of town, she did nothing. And, lo and behold, the house was still standing and the kids were taken care of when she returned home.

Here’s the deal. According to research, men want to know: Am I adequate? Am I able? Am I any good at what I do on the outside? 

Despite all the well-meaning intentions behind the pre-prep, the message men hear isn’t that their wife loves them so much they’re doing things for them before they leave town. Instead, they hear: “I’m not confident you can remember everything you need to do. So, I’ll put a safety net in place to make sure none of the balls get dropped while I’m away.”

Harvard-educated analyst Shaunti Feldhahn found that three-quarters of the men she surveyed, if forced to choose, would give up feeling loved by their wife if they could just feel respected by her.

Feldhahn wanted to understand this better, and she spoke with a friend about it. He said, “I love my wife, but nothing I do is ever good enough.” He explained that they’d recently had friends over for dinner. Afterward, he cleaned up the kitchen while his wife ran to a meeting. When she came home, his wife kissed his cheek, looked over his shoulder and sighed. She then went into the kitchen and started cleaning the countertops. Feldhahn asked her friend if there was anything his wife could have done differently. He said, “Yes, she could have said thanks.”

Feldhahn explains that when women are thinking about something, they usually process out loud so there’s no question what they’re thinking. On the other hand, when men think and process, they almost do an internal chess match before they ever talk about it. Her research showed that instead of questioning the husband’s decision, saying, “Help me understand,” will often reveal a long, well-thought-out explanation.

For example, one wife went to a birthday party, leaving Dad with the kids. When she returned, she asked her husband why he had given the kids juice for dinner instead of milk. He got mad. She got defensive, and things went downhill from there.

Feldhahn asked the husband to help his wife understand what happened. He shared that when he went to the fridge to get the milk, he realized if he gave the kids milk for dinner there wouldn’t be enough for breakfast. He was going to go get more milk, but the baby was already asleep. They’d been having a terrible time with her sleep cycle, so he didn’t want to wake her up just to go get milk. He decided to give the kids juice, which he diluted by half with water so they wouldn’t have as much sugar. After the explanation, the look on his wife’s face said it all. This was a perfect example of assuming there was no thinking behind the behavior.

Kay says the need for perfection is often the very thing that holds women back at work, at home, and in life in general. Just because you may not have it down perfectly doesn’t mean you aren’t qualified to do the job. Just because your spouse doesn’t clean the kitchen just like you doesn’t mean you have to go behind them and “fix it.” Women have to be willing to step out of their comfort zone and try. According to Kay, learning how to fail and still move forward is important. And finally, as women grow in their confidence and competence, she encourages them to pass it on.

What Men Need From Their Wives

Women don’t want people pigeonholing them, penalizing them for taking risks and questioning their competence. Ironically, this is the exact thing women often do to their husbands.

Feldhahn believes it’s important to let your husband be the dad he wants to be, not the dad you want him to be. Kay also points out that neither women nor men like feeling or being seen as incompetent or lacking in confidence. Feldhahn encourages women to stop sending signals or telling your man he is inadequate and doesn’t measure up. Instead of questioning his decisions, assume he has thought about it, and seek to understand.

Looking for more? Check out this episode of JulieB TV on this topic!

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

There’s no doubt that sometimes men and women see and do things differently, but that’s ok! Here’s what husbands say they need from their wives.

Oh, Valentine’s Day – the one day a year it’s okay to wear pink and red together, tell total strangers you love them, and spend way too much money on chocolate.

And don’t forget about celebrating your overwhelming, joyous love for your partner! Right?

For so many couples, Valentine’s Day is more of a routine than a holiday. Get the flowers? Check. Go out for dinner? Check. Eat (all) the chocolate? Check. Then… go back to the norm the next day. But why has the “day of love” turned into one day of over-the-top, mushy-gushy effort to prove our love to our partner?

It doesn’t have to be that way. You may have heard that couples should “treat every day like it’s Valentine’s Day,” and this is not a bad idea! Now, it doesn’t have to mean that you get flowers for your spouse every day or have a fancy meal each night. It does mean that you and your partner choose to express and celebrate your love for each other every day of the year.

It will look a little different for each couple. But here are a few great ways you and your spouse can celebrate Valentine’s Day every day!

  • COMMIT TO SERVE. The humility it takes to serve one another is a great foundation in any relationship. Commit to serving your partner in their needs and wants. Maybe they need some alone time, or they want to try out a new restaurant. Be aware of ways that you can give to your partner and go for it!
  • ALWAYS FORGIVE. This is easier said than done, of course! But try letting go of previous pains or arguments and focusing on the conflict as the problem. It’s a great way to start the process of forgiveness!
  • CELEBRATE THE GOOD. Every couple is guilty of forgetting to do this. Even something as simple as writing a thank-you note to your partner is a great way to bond!
  • BE GENEROUS. This is not financial generosity, but generosity with who you are, the energy you have, and what you give to your love. A balanced relationship is not where each is giving 50%, but where both are giving 100%.
  • ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER. This may not happen as frequently as most couples wish, but a “thank you,” “I’m proud of you,” or “You were great when…” can totally transform a relationship.

Don’t let Valentine’s Day be the one day a year you think through how you can love your spouse the best. Choose to do at least one thing every day to put a smile on your partner’s face, and see just how far it will take you!

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Extramarital affairs have rocked many marriages, and unfortunately, you might think that cheating is inevitable in marriage. According to psychiatrist and author Dr. Scott Haltzman, however, that is just not true.

“Affairs are complicated,” says Haltzman. “Very few people actually set out to cheat on their spouse. After conducting research in this area, I have found that infidelity has to do with a combination of Need, Opportunity and Dis-inhibition, the ‘NOD.’”

Need

People often report that the need for respect, sex, validation, attention or an escape led them to look outside their marriage for satisfaction.

“I met a sports trainer in California who told me he had had 20-30 affairs with women,” Haltzman says. “He thought he was being helpful, stating he gave them attention, listened, appreciated what they were going through, and made them feel good about themselves. ‘I was giving them what their husbands weren’t.’ This is not helpful. People who leave a marriage because their needs aren’t being met show no higher level of happiness five years after ending the marriage (unless they are victims of abuse or they are in a second marriage).”

Opportunity

People have more opportunities than ever before to be near the opposite sex. The most common place for affairs to begin is the workplace, followed closely by the gym.

“One particular opportunity that has trumped everything else when it comes to affairs is the internet,” Haltzman says. “Ten years ago, only 6 percent of affairs began or were perpetuated by the internet. Today, 65 percent of affairs are initiated or maintained through the internet.”

Dis-inhibition

This is a medical term used to describe people who are unable to suppress their impulses. Many years ago, a researcher conducted an experiment with children where he placed a marshmallow in front of them and told them he would be back in five minutes. If they waited until he returned to eat the marshmallow, he would give them an additional marshmallow to eat. Almost all of the kids struggled. Ten years later, the researcher followed up on the children. The ones who could not suppress their impulses with the one marshmallow were more likely to drop out of school and get in trouble with the law.

“This trait continues into adulthood,” Haltzman shares. “So when this person is presented with an opportunity to cheat, they are at greater risk for impulsive behavior.”

So, how can you guard against affairs?

  • Examine your needs and determine what needs aren’t being met. There may be some needs that are never met. What can you live without? What can you do to have your marriage fulfill those needs?
  • Reduce the opportunity to cheat. Avoid conversations about your spouse with members of the opposite sex. Don’t go to lunch alone with a co-worker of the opposite sex. If you sense an attraction to you, move away.
  • You have a responsibility to your marriage to learn to control your impulses and maintain appropriate boundaries.

“People don’t just end up in affairs,” Haltzman asserts. “There is a ‘NOD’ between two people that they are willing to go there.”

 ***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Need some guidance in creating good, strong boundaries for your marriage? 

Check out this hefty DIGITAL E-BOOK by Marriage Researchers & Therapists

Inside, you’ll find:

  • How to talk to your spouse about opposite-sex friends
  • What a good boundary for your marriage looks like
  • Practical ways to build trust between you and your spouse
  • 4 ways to connect well with your spouse & strengthen your relationship well
  • How to create boundaries with the parents and the in-laws
  • The 4 main thefts of intimacy and how to protect your marriage from them
  • AND MORE!

When David and Victoria Beckham were criticized by parenting experts for allowing their 4-year-old daughter to have a pacifier, David fought back. He took to social media to set the record straight.

“Why do people feel they have the right to criticize a parent about their own children without having any facts?? Everybody who has children knows that when they aren’t feeling well or have a fever you do what comforts them best and most of the time it’s a pacifier so those who criticize think twice about what you say about other people’s children because actually you have no right to criticize me as a parent,” said Beckham.

His response garnered over 600,000 likes on Instagram and more than 23,000 comments. Most of the comments encouraged him in his efforts to be a great dad.

Isn’t it interesting how people can take a snapshot in time and make assumptions that may or may not be correct?

The Irreducible Needs of Children: What Every Child Must Have to Grow, Learn, and Flourish, a parenting book by pediatrician Dr. T. Berry Brazelton and child psychiatrist Dr. Stanley I. Greenspan, lists seven basic needs of children. They are:

  • Nurturing relationships;
  • Physical safety and security;
  • Opportunities based on individual personality;
  • Developmentally appropriate experiences;
  • Rules and expectations;
  • A supportive community and cultural continuity; and
  • Future protection.

Anyone with siblings or children knows that, even when children have the same biological parents, their personalities can be as different as night and day, and their needs are not the same. A parent may not be able to turn their back on one child for a split-second without something happening, where another child entertains himself for lengthy periods of time. One child may be more outgoing than the others. Some struggle with what seems like non-stop ear infections while the others are the picture of health.

Engaged parents know things about their children that other people usually do not.

Have you ever been “that parent” in the mall, watching your child have a meltdown while feeling helpless and beating yourself up inside because you know people are watching and probably judging your parenting skills?

Parenting is complicated. It is easy to sit on the sidelines and judge, but when you are in the throes of it, it just isn’t that simple. There is no one cookie-cutter approach for every single child. Most parents are doing the best they know how to do. Being critical without being privy to the big picture is not helpful unless there is legitimate concern of abuse.

Every human being needs to know they are loved, capable, valued and safe. Children look to their parents and want to know if they love them and believe in them and if they measure up.

How parents express answers to these questions probably will look different depending on the child’s needs. Some may need a pacifier when they don’t feel good, even when they are 4 years old. Others may cross a clear boundary and receive a very loving, firm and needed consequence. From an outsider’s vantage point, it may even seem harsh.

Some parents really do need help with their parenting skills. However, it doesn’t seem like judging them publicly without knowing more details is the answer. Remembering that healthy parenting choices vary depending on the situation, the child and the environment can help foster empathy while avoiding a rush to unfair judgment.

A dad’s presence is important. Here are 20 reasons why.

1.  Lets your child know that you love him/her.

2.  Provides your child with greater financial resources.

3.  Gives your child a positive role model.

4.  Provides your child with emotional support.

5.  Enhances your child’s self-esteem.

6.  Provides your child with guidance and discipline.

7.  Enhances your child’s intellectual development.

8.  Gives your child someone to rough and tumble play with.

9.  Provides your child with someone to talk to when he/she has questions.

10. Increases your child’s chances for academic success.

11. Provides your child with an alternative perspective on life.

12. Lowers your child’s chances for early sexual activity.

13. Lowers your child’s chances for school failure.

14. Lowers your child’s chances for youth suicide.

15. Lowers your child’s chances for juvenile delinquency.

16. Lowers your child’s chances for adult criminality.

17. Provides your child with a sense of physical and emotional security.

18. Facilitates your child’s moral development.

19. Promotes a healthy gender identity in your child.

20. Helps your child learn important skills.

From Reasons Why Your Child Needs You to be an Active Father by Stephen D. Green, Ph.D., Child Development Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife

Looking for more? Check out this episode of JulieB TV on this topic.

You found your “soul mate,” dated and fell madly in love. Before long you were fantasizing about what your wedding and wedding night would be like. The honeymoon was wonderful, and so were the weeks and months that followed.

As you slowly get down to the business of marriage, tasks, opportunities, decisions and real life can hit you square in the face.

After a couple of years, your home and roles in married life are down to a routine. Looking to the future, you suddenly realize that your romantic life has become as routine as the household chores.

Since the routine doesn’t have the magic it once had, you wonder, “Did I really marry my soul mate?”

“This is an all-too-familiar story for many people,” says Dr. Pat Love, author, speaker and educator. “People find this very disconcerting. They know couples who are talking divorce which makes the lack of passion in their own marriage a bit more concerning. Couples have the baby, the recession, responsibilities, job insecurity, and so many irons in the fire that the fire has gone out of the bedroom. Their commitment is strong, yet there is this gnawing worry that maybe they should be doing something to flame the embers and get the fire going again.”

During the first two years of marriage, couples get a free dopamine ride. Everything is new and exciting and they have an elevated sex drive. But dopamine levels drop around the two-year mark, and spouses begin to wonder what is wrong. To make matters worse, they rarely talk about what is happening in their relationship.

“These disconcerting thoughts can lead to arguments about things that don’t have anything to do with the real issue at hand – what has happened to us. Research shows that talking about sex during the first year is correlated with high marital satisfaction for men. Discussions after the first year are highly correlated with female satisfaction in marriage,” Love says. “If you can’t talk about it in a healthy productive way, both spouses are likely to be dissatisfied. This quickly moves to discontentment which can lead to the dissolution of a perfectly good marriage.”

Perhaps the passion in your marriage has fizzled. If you want to make sure it stays alive, you can still fan the flames.

Believe it or not, there are classes and events for couples on topics just like this. In a safe and fun environment, you can consider what makes you feel close to each other. You can also learn how to talk about sexuality and sensuality without being overly-sensitive or blaming.

To learn more about fully understanding your spouse’s needs or how to deal with differences in creating passion and intimacy in your relationship, please contact us or check out our classes for married couples.

 

 ***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Tired of the so-so communication in your marriage? 

Check out this hefty DIGITAL E-BOOK by Marriage Researchers & Therapists

Inside, you’ll find:

  • How and why you and your spouse communicate differently, and what to do about it
  • 5 proven listening techniques that will pump up the intimacy in your relationship
  • 4 ways to start and end difficult conversations well
  • 5 ways you may be hindering communication with your spouse without realizing it
  • AND MORE!

PLUS! Every section has an easy, no-stress discussion guide created for you and your partner to build the communication you want in your marriage.


Looking for more? Check out this episode of JulieB TV for an in-depth look on this topic!