Happy-marriage-secrets

10 Ways To Reignite That Honeymoon Spark

One of life’s best natural highs is the thrill, passion and excitement of having a new partner. The conversation is endless, the connection you both feel is intense and the sex… Well let’s be totally honest, it’s hotter than hell! So, if you could reignite that honeymoon spark with your long term partner, why wouldn’t you do it?

Now, according to Graeme Sudholtz, a former Aussie farmer turned relationship and sex therapist and co-owner of Oztantra, “As you get older sex goes from a V8 automatic to a 4 speed manual, but it gets better!” His charming and equally skilled partner in life and in business, Annette Baulch, smiled and nodded in agreement.

I recently had the opportunity and privilege to sit down with this knowledgeable couple of holistic therapists to discuss love, life, relationships and of course sex. It was an entertaining and eye opening half hour, which left me wanting to book an appointment to go back for more!

They offer individual sessions, couples therapy and retreats, Skype appointments and more. Teaching individuals and couples about their sexuality, how to improve quality and quantity in their sex life, how to reignite the intimacy and connection in relationships and having longer lasting sex, are just a few of the topics we discussed. If you want more from your sex life and relationship, I’d highly recommend these two very down to earth, life and fun loving professionals.

They’re relaxed natures and ease in discussing relationships and sex would make even the coyest of people comfortable and they were kind enough to offer SHESAID tips on any upcoming relationship or sex related articles. Tips from the sexperts guys… Thank you Oztantra!

So, now you know where our info is coming from, lets get into Annette’s top 10 tips for reigniting that honeymoon spark:

1. Remember how to feel – The most common reason relationships go stale is that we shut down emotionally from each other. Make your feelings ok, remembering if you can’t feel yourself, you wont feel someone else.

2. Feeling mistakes – Don’t assume that the man is not feeling just because he may not talk about them or uses different language in talking about it. Men do feel, they just have less permission to show it. And women, don’t assume you ARE, check that you’re actually feeling your feelings in your body rather than thinking your feelings.

3. Be willing to be vulnerable – Being vulnerable is how we are able to connect with another and invite our partner into our world, which can be scary! Consequences of not doing this will ultimately lead to the loss of the relationship. Actively choosing to go there is far less scary.

4. Sleep together naked – Our skin is the largest organ in the body and is longing to be nurtured. As adults we are often touch-hungry, especially for touch that has no agenda to it. Relax and snuggle.

5. Honour yourself – We don’t realise how much we dampen our spirit by the hundreds of negative judgments we make about ourselves. Offer honest appreciation daily.

6. Bring love back into sex – Sex becomes boring and hard work when we let love run out and start performing instead. In sex, seek to connect rather than stimulate. Go slowly, connect eyes and breathe.

7. See each other clearly – Take the time to really listen to what they are saying (like you used to do) and get to know a whole new person.

8. Remove your exits – Long-term relationships can get leaky, where we drain energy away from the relationship. This can result in the ‘invisible divorce’. Too much TV, work, talking with friends, focusing on the kids, porn – all of these factors can negatively effect our relationships.

9. Plan a sex date – Set up a regular time to be sexual. Set the date and time (not late at night). You have other essential appointments, why not make sex one of them? Send texts in the lead-up. Ask your partner what they want, enjoy it with them if it feels ok for you. Vary it so you both get to share.

10. Spend quality time on your own – Sometimes couples can get enmeshed and lose the sense of a unique identity, which is what attracted you in the first place. It is healthy to have some time out on your own now and again.

If you want that honeymoon spark back or would like to find out more, speak to Annette and Graeme from Oztantra. Plus, we will have plenty more Oztantra tips and information coming up on SHESAID.

Image via oztantra.com

How The Art Of Forgiveness Can Save Your Marriage

It’s been said that kindness is the key to a long and successful marriage. And while its importance is indisputable, the ability to practice daily forgiveness can really be the defining factor in whether you make up or break up. So says a clinical psychologist I spoke to, who wishes to remain anonymous, and who has more than 30 years experience in couples and relationships counselling.

RELATED: Why Random Acts Of Kindness Can Boost Your Well-Being

Of course, there are some things, like domestic violence and unfaithfulness, for example, which often can’t and shouldn’t be forgiven – definite deal breakers.  It’s also important not to accept put-downs and cruel treatment – no one ever deserves that! But we’re talking here about relatively minor relationship disputes such as your husband/partner saying the wrong thing, forgetting something, being late and/or being inconsiderate and unkind at times.

marriage problems, happy marriage, forgiveness

After all, everyone makes mistakes, gets things wrong or says something that they later regret. So it is inevitable that our partners will do something to hurt, annoy or offend us from time-to-time. When this happens it’s totally normal and natural to get angry, but is it good to stay angry?

My psychologist contact says a big, resounding no! For prolonged anger can have significant negative impacts on our physical health and emotional well-being; the longer we feel angry the more damage is done. So, it’s vital we get over our anger as soon as possible and forgive our partner, she says.

Whenever our partner makes a mistake, says the wrong thing or is lacking in tact and consideration, we feel resentful and angry. If we can’t forgive these slip-ups and each time hold onto the resentment and anger, we will eventually have such negative feelings towards our partner that any positive, loving emotions will be overwhelmed,” she says.

“An inability to forgive and let go of negative emotions will lead to resentment and dislike of one’s partner and could spell the end to a marriage. Conversely, being able to forgive and move on is absolutely essential to maintaining a happy marriage.”

marriage problems, happy marriage, forgiveness

So, how on earth do we mere mortals practise the art of forgiveness? Sometimes, the forgiving is really, really hard to do and it might take time to work through our thoughts and feelings. And, if you have a slightly overdeveloped sense of vengeance when someone really wrongs us – certainly one of my failings – it can seem impossible just to let it go and move on. However, move on we must – for the sake of our marriage.

The psychologist says it’s all about perspective, baby. “After the initial feeling of hurt and venting of our anger, it is important to step back and carefully assess how important to you this issue is. Is it something you feel very strongly about, or is it something you can talk through and let go? If it’s the latter, calmly tell your partner how you feel and why, explain why what was said was hurtful and perhaps suggest a better way or saying what he/she said or did,” she says.

“If your partner is open to this and willing to talk the issue through, try and let it go and move on. How? Ask yourself how important the issue is in the great scheme of things. Will it matter tomorrow, next week, in 10 years? If not, there’s no point in holding on to it, let it go now.”

The psychologist’s top forgiveness tips include:

  • Be firm with yourself; engage in some positive self-talk, reminding yourself it’s harmful to hold onto negative emotions.
  • Imagine blowing all the anger and resentment into a balloon then letting it float away.
  • Remind yourself of all the things you like and love about your beloved partner. Think about great times you’ve had together, places you’ve gone and feel-good things you’ve done together.

In addition, the psychologist advises us to carefully decide if the relationship dispute we have with our partner is small and deserving of forgiveness, or actually something seriously damaging to the relationship, which you can’t overlook and need to address.

If it’s the first instance, we should forgive quickly whenever we can; forgive and forget the unimportant things. This is because forgiveness is good for our emotional well-being and the health and viability of our relationship.

So, ladies, hopefully that anger and resentment are gone by now and you can go pash/hug your husband and forgive him for his many failings, just as you’d like to be forgiven for yours. He is but a man, after all…

marriage problems, happy marriage, forgiveness

What do you think? Do you find forgiveness hard?

Images via Brain Body Beauty, Mamas Health, Motivational Interviewing Montreal, ter4ng.wordpress.com

Friendship Is Their Secret Ingredient

Generations ago couples “courted” and got to know each other well before they hit the sack. They might have fooled around a bit but the fear of pregnancy kept most women’s legs pretty tightly shut! Unbeknownst to them they were actually building a friendship which would help through the tough times ahead. By the time couples married they had a reasonable idea who they were spending their life with.

RELATED: Marriage and friendship help you live longer

Fast forward to the 21st century we are lucky to have birth control and options for protected sex. Instead of pregnancy being the deterrent it once was, women are now free to be more, um-mm, free?! The downside is that the friendship required for intimate relationships to survive long term is often missing.

This maybe one of the reasons separation and divorce rates are so high. Plus we have options which our ancestors didn’t. If they were unhappy or dissatisfied in their relationship they had to fix it. Their only options were to find a workable solution, live in misery or murder their spouse. I’m sure a few went missing, some were miserable but the majority worked on it.

We don’t have these restraints. Instead, couples opt for the easy way out, separate and try to find love and happiness elsewhere. The problem with this is that many fail to realize they need to fix the issues created in their initial relationship so it won’t be transferred to the next. Serial cheaters are a prime example. Until they work on their cheating behaviour in their current relationship, it’s pretty likely they’ll cheat over and over again in others.

Today, couples that have a solid friendship are far more likely to work through their baggage, issues or hard-ships and remain together. It’s not just about communicating as friends but encompasses the mutual respect, validation of opinions, understanding, acknowledgment and all the other goodies being best friends involves.

Friendship in new relationships

If you’re on the market or just beginning a new relationship, great! Hold off on the sex and concentrate on the friendship. It doesn’t matter what gender you are either. Simply spend time together, communicate and build a solid foundation for a strong, sustainable relationship.

Avoid placing a time limit on initiating intimacy because that will become the focus. It really doesn’t matter. As a guide when you feel comfortable being able to strip naked in front of your partner and jump up and down, you’re probably pretty comfortable with each-other! Although holding of on sex maybe easier said than done it’s much easier to begin as friends and work toward intimacy than the other way around.

Concentrating on friendship in established relationships

If your relationship is based on physical attraction and lust you’re in serious trouble if you want it to last long term. We all know the passionate side of relationships is awesome but there’s got to be more. Eventually that will subdue and you will need to have a friendship for it to last.

Rather than suddenly stopping the sex to work on your friendship, continue as you would when you want to befriend someone. Work on what you have in common, likes and dislikes, family history, strengths and weaknesses, fears and life experiences. You should know all the things friends know about each other and concentrate on building mutual respect, understanding and trust.

Why friendship?

So why is friendship the secret ingredient to a happy, satisfying long term relationship? Easy. Best friends look out for each other no matter what. They are comfortable in extended periods of silence. Everyone needs down time. They treat each other as equals with respect, dignity, validation and compassion, not as possessions or objects to be abused. They have fun together, laugh together, communicate and enjoy each others company.  Plus, when the s### hits the fan, who do you want to turn to? Not the friend with benefits which some couples resemble, but your best friend.

If your intimate relationship doesn’t have a solid foundation built upon friendship it will eventually crumble. It might last a few years, maybe even a decade or more but the most satisfying and happy relationships seem to have this one essential ingredient. Thankfully this is something we can all build upon, achieve and improve with age.

Image via nedhardy.com

Cate Blanchett’s Happy Marriage Secrets

Cate Blanchett has been married to Andrew Upton for 16 years, and reckons she knows the secrets to a happy marriage.

The 44-year-old Oscar winner says trust is a huge part of their marriage, so much so that they have the same email address.

“We work together and it’s a way of synchronising our lives.  I can see what he’s up to – it’s not that I don’t trust him,” she told The Daily Mail.

Despite playing a neurotic scorned woman who suffers a breakdown in Blue Jasmine, in real-life, Blanchett couldn’t be further from her character, admitting that being a hands-on mum to their three sons – Dashiell, 12, Roman, nine, and Ignatius, five – is important to her.

Family life in Sydney is “a well-oiled machine,” she says.

“I’ve got a whole system going. I know what has to be done by the end of the evening, and what has to be done by the end of the morning.

“Three lunch boxes, three school bags, three sets of school uniform. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I have to write everything down.”

Despite her hectic filming schedule, she makes sure she’s never away from her children for more than a few days.

“When we did Blue Jasmine in San Francisco, they came with me. I’m about to do a Cinderella film for Disney, and that’s over the holidays, so they’ll come too.”

Would you share an email address with your husband? Tell us in the comments!

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