Monday 29 July 2013

tips that’ll help you get closer to your partner

You can stop feeling sorry for your friends in long-distance relationships: Turns out, long-distance couples tend to have stronger relationships, according to a new study published in the Journal of Communication.
For the study, researchers from the City University of Hong Kong and Cornell University had 63 couples (30 of which were long-distance) keep track of every single interaction they had during the course of a week. Researchers also asked them how close they felt to their partner after each of these interactions. Sure enough, the long-distance couples reported higher levels of intimacy.
While it might be counterintuitive, this doesn’t come as a total shock: Previous research published in 2010 shows that long-distance couples tend to report more relationship satisfaction, higher levels of trust, and more stability than their non-long-distance counterparts.
So why does absence really seem to make the heart grow fonder? There are likely two things at work, say study authors: First, people in long-distance relationships appear to be better communicators, according to the interactions they recorded. Another factor might be that couples separated by distance in the study were more likely to idealize each other; they viewed their partners as being even more communicative than they actually were—which helped keep positive feelings about them flowing.
That’s not to say that you have to live several states away from your partner to have a solid relationship. Just follow these tips from study author Crystal Jiang, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of media and communication at the City University of Hong Kong, to steal the same strategies that people in long-distance relationships tend to use:
Tell Your Partner How You Feel
Sure, long-distance couples tend to express their affection and commitment more often—and it doesn’t hurt to say that you love each other on a regular basis (even if it goes without saying). But that’s not the only feeling you should be talking about with your S.O. In the study, long-distance couples did more of something researchers call “self-disclosure,” which basically means opening up about what you’ve been thinking, feeling, and doing lately. So the next time you’re debating whether to tell your partner about the annoying thing that happened at work recently, start talking. “Self-disclosure is one of the ways people communicate intimacy and caring,” says Jiang.
Listen Up
Whereas you might show your partner some love by picking up dinner for them or offering to go to Ikea with them to make the trip a little more fun, long-distance couples usually don’t have that option. What they can offer: their attention. “People in long-distance relationships are often valued for their ability to provide special insight, empathy, or understanding,” says Jiang. Follow their lead by really listening to what your partner says to you—even when you’re in one of those just-smile-and-nodmoods. What exactly you say in response to your partner isn’t nearly as important as clearly addressing what they’ve just said in a supportive way. ”Efforts are really the key thing here,” says Jiang.
Cut Your Partner Some Slack
As we mentioned earlier, one of the big reasons researchers say long-distance relationships are stronger is that people tend to idealize their S.O. when they don’t have to see them throwing their dirty socks on the floor or playing video games every day. Totally losing touch with reality obviously isn’t a good thing, but keeping mental tabs on the good things about your partner—and even building them up a little bit—is going to be way better for your bond than fuming (silently or otherwise) about his Xbox addiction. “Moderate idealization can help couples stay positive about their partner’s traits,” says Jiang. So focus on how sweet it was when he refused to let you do the dishes the other night—and maybe look the other way the next time he forgets that hampers exist.

Sunday 28 July 2013

14 positive powers of prayer

Prayer. It is something that not everyone practices, but those who do believe strongly in its healing power. It is the practice of connecting spiritually to something or someone that gives a deeper meaning to life. There are two dimensions to prayer.
One is the self-awareness and self-reflection which is internal and the other is a connection with something deeper such as a higher power. When done with the correct intentions, prayer can have a number of different benefits.
1. It gives a feeling of hope and sense of optimism.
2. It helps to give a sense of gratitude for those around you and for the things that you have that others may not.
3. It can help to control impulsive actions and help to delay gratification for the person that is praying. It can help them to see the whole picture and see if what they are about to do will cause harm to anyone.
4. It can give someone a broader perspective on life and help them see the bigger picture.
5. It can help to see the beauty and commonality of diversity.
6. It can help you focus and concentrate because you are clearing your mind to pray.
7. It can help people to forgive when they otherwise may have a hard time doing so. It helps them to forget about the past and move forward to the future.
8. It gives people a sense of security in where they are going in life.
9. Prayer gives a comfort and a sense of being protected. It also decreases stress and anxiety.
10. Prayer time can be used for rational thinking.
11. It can give new and creative ways to solve problems that come up in life.
12. It will help you to unleash your emotions and thoughts.
13. It can increase confidence and be used as a time to self-affirm.
14. Prayer can help someone learn how to increase social maturity and how to connect with others.

Five Components to Decision-Making

How many times have you realized you made the wrong decision, but it was too late? In his new book, Before You Do: Making Great Decisions You Won't Regret, Bishop T.D. Jakes, says there are five crucial components to making smart decisions that won't lead to a lifelong regret.

1. Research: Gathering Information and Collecting Data
"This is not about the destination. This is about the journey; how do I get to a good decision," Bishop Jakes says. For example, Dr. Phil's guest, Bruce, should ask himself if it's fair to blame his wife for their sons' illnesses. He should also take a step back and see what he needs to do to bond with his wife. "You can never make a good decision with bad information. A lot of people make a decision based on their emotions, but you really want to bring together, not just how you feel about it, but what are the facts."

2. Roadwork: Removing Obstacles and Clearing the Path
Think about the obstacles blocking your path and figure out how to overcome them to attain what you want. "As you're going through the process of moving on with your life, you've got to clear some things out of the way," Bishop Jakes says to Bruce and his wife, Sabrina. "You've still got this ‘junk in the trunk' that you've collected along the way, and you're trying to go ahead with your life, as if you have not had a crisis. As you begin to move those obstacles out of the way, you clear the path to increase your chances of reaching the destination of living happily together."

3. Rewards: Listing Choices and Imagining Their Consequences
The consequences are the rewards. "You have never had any small rewards along the way; little reprieves, some moments of happiness. They are very short-lived, and it's very, very important," Bishop Jakes tells Bruce and Sabrina. Going for long periods without satiety doesn't make for a successful relationship. "You have not had those little ah-ha moments where you begin to really celebrate each other and have some relief from this stress and pressure ...  Take the power back by saying to yourself, ‘I can't help what happened to me, but I can change how I react to what happens to me.' That gives you the power back."

4. Revelation: Narrowing Your Options and Making Selections
Pray, meditate and find a way to get a clear picture on how your decision will turn out over a lifetime. Ask yourself what success looks like for you. "The revelation is that you still have many choices that you can make that are very positive and very meaningful," Bishop Jakes explains. "You get the revelation of seeing things correctly. When you see better, you do better."

5. Rearview: Looking Back and Adjusting as Necessary to Stay on Course
When revisiting a decision, decide if your choice accomplished what you set out to do. "Looking back on the situation and putting it behind you, assessing it and getting it in perspective is very, very important, because our wisdom is accumulated from when we look back at situations, we and learn from them. That's why, hopefully, as we get older, we get wiser," Bishop Jakes says.

Friday 26 July 2013

warning signs of a troubled marriage

Although we all love to be happily married, couples often find themselves caught off guard when a marriage breaks. The reasons may range from silly to serious. It happens in the most unexpected way. Only when you face the situation do you actually begin to think back and realise if you missed the warning signs.
Here are a few situations that suggest trouble in your marriage
1. Digging up the past, name calling, verbally abusing and belittling in-laws have almost become common for you two.
2. Both look for silly excuses to fight. You try avoiding each other and don’t look forward to coming back home anymore. Even a trivial complaint turns into a bitter fight. You feel there’s no workable solution in sight.
3. Nothing is a joint decision anymore. There’s no logic behind your explanation. It’s simply a matter of ego to prove what you feel is right.
4. Jealousy creeps in. There’s no healthy competition anymore. It’s not at all fun to ask for guidance as you are belittled for your complete lack of knowledge or ignorance. You can’t take your spouse into confidence.
5. Your spouse can’t think beyond himself/herself. You feel like an outsider being neglected and unwanted. You don’t feel part of the family at all. It is no more our family but ‘my family’. This means danger!
6. One of you cheats. Extra-marital affair is a strict no-no and ruins family life. It’s an unpardonable mistake and means the end of a marriage.
7. Neither of you are inclined towards sex. It kind of becomes mechanical with absolutely no passion. Sex is something that keeps the marriage going.
8. You don’t seem to sort out issues then and there. Either of you is an escapist and avoids confrontation. You have bottled it all up and can’t wait for it to burst so you can put an end to your relationship.
9. No communication of any sorts. Forget the mushy notes and flower bouquet, your partner doesn’t bother asking ‘how are you’ in a mail or text message. When there’s total silence between the two of you and you run out of topics to talk, then your relationship has reached a dead end.

How to be a great girlfriend in 7 difficult situations

young black couple
It’s easy to know what to do when everything is going fine in you and your man’s lives; be sweet, funny, charming, hot—you know, the usual. But when disaster strikes your partner, there are some behaviors you need to ease up on, and some that will be all new territory for you. Here’s how to be a quintessential and supportive girlfriend in some of life’s most trying situations.


Maybe it’s an ex who left him at the alter or cheated on him, or perhaps an ex who went a little crazy and warranted a restraining order. Either way, you can’t just go on as if nothing just happened when you and your man run into his ex.


If it was an ex who broke his heart, you might wonder if he still has feelings for her. But look: he is with you now. The last thing he needs after running into an ex is to have to console you and let you know everything is okay. In this case, act casual, happy and just ask, “Was that weird for you?” “Weird” is a neutral word. It doesn’t imply sad, scary, upsetting or anything in particular. It opens it up to your man to say whatever is on his mind, and it displays no judgment on your part. If it’s a crazy ex, she will in all likelihood do something crazy when she sees him with you, like yell at you, throw a drink at you, shove you or a number of things. You have to act completely un-phased by it, because your man will be so embarrassed that he ever dated someone like that, and feel terrible you had to feel her wrath. Laugh it off. Tell him you’re so sorry for him. Change the subject as soon as possible. If possible, ask him to go do his favorite activity.


Sometimes parents just suck, right? Sometimes, instead of being the unconditionally loving, supportive and comforting people they should be, they are harsh, unsupportive, critical, judgmental and hurtful. And it is very uncomfortable for your partner to have you see his parents be this way towards him.


If your man’s parent was just a total heart-less jerk to him, saying or doing something very un-maternal/paternal, he’s no idiot, and you can’t put a nice spin on why they did it. So show your man you see what he sees: tell him that yes, his parent is being awful right now! And it must be very painful for him. But, at the same time, nobody wants to see their parent as a monster, and you—as a non family member—are not really in a place to trash talk. So, while you sympathize and acknowledge how tough the parent is being, also analyze. Tell your partner there must be a reason his parent is being that way—some fear they have, or stress they are under. At the end of the day, whether we like it or not, we cannot dismiss our parents entirely. Part of surviving with them, is rationalizing some of the awful things they do. Help your partner do that.


When a man gets fired, he doesn’t feel like a man. He doesn’t feel that he has the skills to provide not only for himself but for a family one day. In addition, men have an incredible sense of competition, and in this economy, it’s even higher. Each man feels like he won’t be the one to get the boot. And when it happens, it’s even more devastating because he knows, in this economy, how much harder it will be to get back up.


There is nothing sophisticated, complicated or even that psychological about this solution: your man needs to still feel competent and attractive in some arena of his life! He doesn’t want your pity, and to be honest, he doesn’t even want your help finding a new job. All he needs from the woman in his life is to still be a man in her eyes. Get ready to be active in the bedroom; your man needs your attention. As for talking about the issue, only do it when he wants to. If he isn’t bringing it up, it’s because he wants it off his mind right now.


When his screenplay gets rejected for the tenth time, or he once again doesn’t land that acting job, or is denied a loan to start his business or in some way, his baby (his dream) that he has been nursing for years still isn’t finding its place in the world, what do you do? What do you tell a man up against all odds?


Remind him that any role model he has in his field was exactly where he is now at one point. Remind him that while he persists and persists, his competitors lose hope and drop out of the race. Remind him that no step or effort is wasted because connections or lessons are gained from each. Remind him that he has nothing to lose, and that the worst that can happen by continuing on is more rejection, and he already knows how to handle that, right? Remind him that life is too short to not go after your dreams, and while chances are slim of them coming true now, they go down to zero if he gives up.


This is a tough situation because, unless you are a doctor, there is very little you can do to remedy the actual problem at hand. And if you think you feel helpless, your man feels even more helpless seeing his mother/brother/best friend in a dangerous medical situation.


Often, when someone is hurting emotionally, and somebody comes in trying to “fix” things, the person in pain feels a responsibility to at least make it seem like the fixer actually, well, fixed things. But, you’re not really fixing anything; you’re just giving your guy an added responsibility of having to now make you feel good about your efforts. Don’t try to tell your guy it will be okay, or offer a million ways to make him feel better. Just be there when he wants to talk, cuddle, cry or have company. You don’t have to say anything. And then help in the ways you can, like with chores, or errands, or helping out the rest of his family that is affected by the situation. He’ll appreciate that you are realistic about the problem at hand.


Even the least paternal man feels a sense of fatherly love towards his dog. He may not have even realized what a big responsibility it had been in his life at the time—waking up early to feed the dog, putting aside money for vet visits, organizing for pet sitters—but when a man’s dog gets ill and eventually passes, he may realize for the first time that he was the protector of this living thing and he may feel that he failed.


Nobody ever loves your dog as much as you do. For that reason, people often write off the pain you are in when your pet passes away. They’ll give you a quick, “Aw, I’m sorry” maybe accompanied by a hug, but then they’ll ask you what you want on your sandwich. Life goes on for everyone else, and you have to pretend you’re not in immense pain because it was just an animal, right? Wrong! Your guy can either feel incredibly emotionally distant from you in this time if you’re not going through the pain with him, or he can feel you’re the only person that gets him. Treat this like the death of a human. That’s how it feels to your guy. For weeks, possibly even months, treat your man as if he just went through a big loss. Things will be about him for a bit—about making him feel better.


Hopefully your man isn’t struck with anything untreatable, but he still might go through periods of being very ill for a long time. Fighting pneumonia, recovering from a surgery, or fighting an infection. There are plenty of things that could have your boyfriend out of shape, out of work, and out of his regular life for weeks or even months.


The biggest mistake partners make when the other is sick is forgetting, that person can’t do the stuff you used to do! They probably cannot have sex as often (or perhaps at all while sick), they don’t have the energy to go out for dinner, having friends over exhausts them. Don’t ask them to do those things unless they suggest them themselves. Otherwise, your partner will end up worrying about letting you down and dragging you into their sickness with them. And that literally adds insult to injury. Do what you need to do for yourself—see your friends, go to your workout class, buy a good vibrator—so that you’re energized to take care of your partner. Taking care of yourself is one of the most crucial parts to taking care of someone else. If you don’t do it, you’ll be exhausted, irritated and a poor caretaker.

source: ynaija

seven ways to strike good friendship wherever you go

If you find that meeting people and connecting with them is really difficult, it’s time to learn a few ways to make new friends that won’t end in disaster. When meeting people, communication is pretty much everything. You can’t connect with people when you don’t communicate with them or you don’t pick up on their ways of communication. Keep reading to get tips on meeting people and ways to make new friends.


One of the most essential ways to make new friends is to introduce yourself or have someone else introduce you. How will you make new friends if you don’t take the time out to meet people? It’s important to approach those friendly faces, say ‘Hello,’ tell them who you are, then strike up a conversation. After that, then a friendship can develop, but the first step is the introduction. Depending on where you are and whom you’re with, your introduction may be formal, casual, humorous, etc. Adapt to your surroundings and don’t think your introduction is limited to ‘Hello my name is Joy, what’s yours?’ Which brings me to my next point.


You’ve got to pay attention to the nonverbal cues of your communication partners. If someone looks like they’re in a rush or they’re busy, you may want to strike up a conversation another time, or find a new person with whom to communicate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people who were oblivious to their partner’s nonverbal cues. When your communication partner is tapping her foot, looking at her watch, giving one word answers, sighing, and looking away, it’s time to end the conversation. Some people will tell you when they can’t talk, but many people are passive and they won’t. Be mindful of nonverbal cues. I’m sure your communication partner will appreciate it and they’re more likely to want to talk to you another time.


A great way to get to know people and make friends is by asking questions that require more than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ The conversation can reach its end very quickly when it only consists of closed ended questions, ‘yes’, and ‘no,’ not to mention that it can also be extremely boring. Try asking the person about their hobbies or what topics most interest them. Make them elaborate; you’ll get to know them a lot better that way, and the conversation could be ten times more interesting.


When you’re making new friends, be sure to actively listen. Make sure they know you’re interested in what they’re saying. Nod, smile, and ask for clarification when you need it. I learned in my communication class that most women like to get feedback from the listener such as “uh-huh” or “yeah, that’s right.” However, when the listener gives that same feedback to men, many times the men see it as interrupting rather than listening. Cool, huh? Ask your female and male friends and see what they think! That knowledge would be helpful when attempting to actively listen!


A great way to make new friends is to talk about both of your interests. If you’re into Biology and love talking about the lysozyme contained excretions in the lumen of the kidney, that doesn’t mean your communication partners will. To be honest, they probably won’t even care. If you want to build a relationship, a great way to start is with your similarities. Speaking of similarities…


There’s value in mentioning things you both have in common. It connects you in a deeper way, beyond humanity, sex, and location. If you both have the same shoes, you can talk about how good they look with their outfit or how you had such a difficult time finding them, etc. Similarities open up a world of more things to talk about. Results to a psychological study showed that we tend to like people more when they have things in common with us. So don’t forget to mention those similarities when making new friends.


Yep! You knew this one was coming. When making new friends, the most important thing is to be yourself. Trying to be someone you’re not will only make you uncomfortable in the end. Why start the friendship off under false pretenses? That’s a recipe for disaster. If you meet someone and he or she doesn’t like you for who you are, you don’t need that person’s friendship. There are plenty of people who’d love your companionship, so you don’t have to waste your time on the ones who don’t.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

3 ways money breaks up marriages


It’s certainly not a cliche: How to spend money is the number one argument married couples fight about and, if left unresolved, can lead to divorce. According to a recent article, the upside of marriage is the health benefits of being together; the downside is the stress of unresolved financial goals can negate that benefit. Most people marry someone who has a different view regarding spending. These viewpoints should not be seen as a negative and something to change: It is the coming together as a couple that creates a healthy balance in setting financial goals. A conservative’s restraint will make sure the family has the funds needed to take that fun vacation the more free spending person visualizes. Both are essential: Two conservatives can lean toward selfishness and two unrestrained spenders can lean toward irresponsibility.
The key is to acknowledge the reasons why you have particular beliefs about money individually and how, as a couple, you can combine each other’s strengths and weaknesses to enjoy a wealthy life together. Here are three ways money will break up your marriage if you are not proactive:
1. You avoid talking about money. Unfortunately, most couples would rather not talk about it at all. You find ways to avoid mentioning the topic of money, knowing it will lead to a blowout. But this approach only gives ammunition to the time bomb. For instance, you’re out to eat with friends and your sweetie insists on paying the tab … again. He shows his affection for others through spending and he relishes in the good vibes he receives from that showing generosity. You, on the other hand, are mentally calculating how you can make up the difference in cash flow. It is a source of stress within your relationship. You dare not talk about it because you know that conversation always turns into a huge fight and nothing gets accomplished. However, you feel resentment building. Release it by talking it out!
2. There’s a lack of mutual financial priorities. Your personal financial goal is to pay down all of your combined debt, but you face an uphill battle because your significant other spends the extra cash (every last dime of it). It’s not that his view of money is wrong and yours is correct; it’s just that there’s a lack of communicating to each other where to delegate funds. Many people believe budgeting is negative and constraining, but planning when to spend (or save) your cash will go is a valuable tool. Together, you can agree on what is important and how those goals will be achieved. Without planning and focusing on the priorities, it’s very easy to have prosperity become allusive.
3. You associate money with self-esteem. Society dictates that happiness is found at the ATM; the more cash you spend, the better life will be.  Becoming united in your mutual relationship with money is essential to avoiding divorce. When you do not have a shared financial vision, restraint is totally cast off. As a relationship coach, I believe more couples avoid talking about money because they know it will set off a bad reaction. The tension and fighting feels like the other person doesn’t love them anymore and avoidance becomes the norm. That is why is it vital to prepare for love before you enter a committed relationship. Once you take proactive steps to set your priorities, the easier it will be for you to communicate what is important in the shared life you want to create and experience with the love of your life.
No matter where you are in couplehood or marriage, you can make a decision to release the fear of discussing finances and remove that barrier to the love and mutually fulfilling life you deserve to experience.

source: ynaija