Healthy-marriage

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

February 4, 2015

Can A Celebrity Crush Sex Up Your Marriage?

Do celebrity crushes perform an important role as a marital and/or sex aid in our lives, or are they a dangerous precursor to a jail sentence for stalking? I jest, of course, with the latter, for celebrity crushes have long been a driving force in teenage, and even adult, lives for generations.

In grade three, I was so besotted with Michael Jackson, I lovingly adorned all my school folders with glorious images of the late King of Pop. Then, Thriller happened and I had to dump Michael’s arse, for those iconic posters were far too scary for the likes of mini-me. Poor, late MJ.

celebrity crush, pretend boyfriend, relationships

Related: Which Celebrity Tops The ‘Cheat List’

Next up, I’ve had the longest love affair of my life – albeit a frustratingly unrequited one, from afar – with U2 frontman Bono (main image), who replaced MJ in my heart when, as a teenager, I discovered the band’s iconic hit album, The Joshua Tree. That voice; his passion for social justice; and his long, dark hair and Celtic good looks had me captivated. Indeed, I still find the aging rock star somewhat swoon-worthy despite his band’s recent Apple album-sharing debacle.

Today, my modern muse – or celebrity crush of the moment – is actor Rupert Friend’s broody, elite CIA black-ops agent character Peter Quinn (pictured below), in Homeland. He’s like James Bond, but with a soul. Swoon.

And I swear I am singlehandedly carrying the Homeland fan base here in Australia and my husband dutifully downloads (legally) episodes for me to watch well after the shows have aired, given they’re now shown ridiculously late on TV, too late for an exhausted mum of two toddlers, seemingly due to aforementioned lack of popularity.

I can’t get enough of Quinn’s amazing cheekbones, which could cut glass; his unrequited feelings for Carrie, the show’s female lead; and his dashing, man-of-action modern-day spy with a conscience.

celebrity crush, pretend boyfriend, relationships

So, do you have a pretend boyfriend, too? Who takes your fancy? And is a celebrity crush a good fantasy tool in a long-term relationship, or does it spell disaster for you and your significant other?

Relationship experts say celebrity crushes are common and should not be kept secret from your partner. Instead, you can actually boost your sex life by talking to your beloved about who floats your boat, erm aside from them, that is.

It’s all part of using fantasy role playing to sex up our love lives, so long as you don’t alienate your partner, experts insist. So, how do you do that? Keep it light, safe and fun by sharing the fantasy of someone unattainable with your partner – chances are, for example, I’m not going to bump into super-sexy Quinn any time soon (bugger).

And my husband, who has a cute crush on a certain very attractive celebrity (whom we’ve both met) isn’t likely to be socialising with her again anytime soon, phew (or this lifetime, I hope).

And here’s the all-important bit – relationship experts say you don’t want to be telling your significant other your sexy daydreams about the personal trainer you’re seeing twice weekly. Now, that’d be both stupid and dangerous. It’s got to be someone so ridiculously famous you’d actually probably drop dead from shock/excitement if you met them in real life.

What do you think? Do you have a celebrity crush?

Main image via www.cerveaux.dk; MJ image via www.ebay.com and Quinn image via www.sho.com.

November 6, 2014

The Perfect Relationship (According to Science At Least)

Even if you’re in a happy relationship, you’ve probably wondered, what exactly is the perfect relationship? Who is the happiest couple out there? We’re not sure this couple actually exists, but researchers from around the world think they’ve found the secret to the perfect relationship. Read on for their relationship advice for your own happily ever after.

You don’t fight (anymore)
Couples who have “angry but honest” conversations early  in their relationship were happier in the long run.

You don’t text each other
Couples who spend more time texting than having face-to-face conversation are less happy in their relationship.

You both do you fair share at home
Those who share household tasks like cooking and cleaning and clearly outline each person’s responsibilities are more likely to feel satisfied in their relationship, according to a UCLA study.

You’re very similar
Couples who share similar  interests and traits are happier. “If your partner is helping you become a better person, you become happier and more satisfied in the relationship,” one researcher told the New York Times.

You both laugh at the same jokes
Researchers have found that a similar sense of humour is beneficial to long-term relationships. In one study of couples married for at least 45 years, sense of humour was among the top three reasons given for a couple’s success.

You’re genuinely happy for each other
Couples who celebrated their partner’s achievements as if they were their own experienced greater satisfaction than those who reacted with indifference or apathy.

You spend money the same way
One survey found that couples who spend money the same – whether they splurge or save – are the happiest.

You have lots of sex
Increasing sex from once a month to once a week results in a happier relationship, according to this paper.

So, sound like anyone you know? There’s probably no such thing as the perfect relationship, although there are some handy reminders about what make a relationship stronger.

What do you think makes a strong relationship?

January 29, 2014

Date Ideas for Boring Married Couples

Has routine replaced the romance in your relationship? Hey, we know what it’s like. You’re busy, your partner’s busy, and all you look forward to at the end of the day is pure, unadulterated sleep.

Planning date night is a must to keep the romance alive. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with dinner and a movie, but save the cliches for a rainy day. We’ve got some fun date ideas that will make your next date night a night to remember.

Take a trip down memory lane
When you were dating, every “first” was exciting. Relive that excitement by visiting some of the places that are the most special to the two of you. Revisit the restaurant where you had your first date, and end by taking a walk to where your partner proposed. One couple we know have dinner every month at the restaurant where they hosted their wedding reception. Treasure those memories, and make new ones.

Be a tourist
Pretend to be tourists in your own city. When was the last time you spent an afternoon admiring the animals at the zoo, having high tea at a 5-star hotel, checking out the views from your tallest tower, or taking a relaxing harbour cruise? And don’t forget to bring along your camera. No date is complete without plenty of cheesy photos of the two of you.

Learn something new together
Taking a class together is a great way to break free of monotony. Sharing a hobby draws you closer together and gives you something new and exciting to talk about. You could learn to cook a favourite cuisine, practise self defence, learn a new language or even take DJ classes! Your local community college has a never-ending roster of evening and weekend classes and you’re sure to find something you’re both interested in.

Get outside
The weather is gorgeous, so forget sitting inside and make the most of summer. Get some fresh air and enjoy quality time with your man outdoors, whether having an alfresco BBQ at the beach, or taking a scenic walk with drinks at a favourite beer garden afterwards. Getting outside is good for both the body and the soul.

What are your favourite date ideas? Share them in the comments!

January 28, 2014

Sarah Jessica Parker’s Happy Marriage Secrets

Sarah Jessica Parker says the secret to a happy marriage is very simple – just don’t talk about it.

She and Matthew Broderick, 51, have been married for 16 years and have three children – James Wilkie, 11, and twin daughters Tabitha and Loretta, four.

“The secret is, we don’t discuss it. To reporters or anybody else. That’s it!” Parker, 48, told The Huffington Post. “We don’t hold it up as an example and we don’t air our dirty laundry.”

Her relationship advice about staying away from celebrity gossip comes at the start of a busy year for Parker, who just launched a Hallmark greeting card collection, will soon debut her first shoe line, and will appear on stage with Blythe Danner in fellow actress Amanda Peet’s off-Broadway play The Commons of Pensacola.

sarahjessicaparkerwedding
…and the bride wore black. Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick on their wedding day in 1997

Parker also raved about her children and how creative they are.

“My daughters write thank you notes, and they’re just learning to read and be able to spell.

“They’re all preternaturally gifted artists — they probably spend 80 percent of their free time drawing. Every morning before breakfast, we have to drag them away from drawing and painting, even my son. They’re far more gifted than I ever was.”

January 24, 2014

Relationship Advice for a Healthy Marriage

The movies make dating and love look easy. Two people meet, they fall in love and live happily ever after. Really?

Whether you’re dating someone, engaged to your partner or married, you’ll come across common problems every day of the week. These problems can leave you feeling stressed out and confused about the state of your relationship, and wondering what the point of it all is. Before you decide to yell and scream, or pull the plug and end things, read on for some relationship advice for the common problems that plague couples.

Lack of communication
A lack of communication is one of the common problems facing couples of all ages. At the beginning of your relationship, you’re busy getting to know each other, and you can’t stop sharing with each other. But as the months and years go by, you find yourself with less to say to each other. And these days, we tend to think we can can send an email, shoot a quick text message or chat online instead of actually talking. It’s not the same thing.

When you and your partner reach the point where you rarely talk to each other, it’s time to stop and reevaluate things. Find simple things that you can talk about with each other, including how you spent the day, what you’re looking forward to doing on the weekend, or something interesting you read in the paper. If you feel like you have nothing to talk about, try a new activity or hobby to give you something to share.

Financial problems
More people seek relationship advice relating to financial problems than almost any other problem. Financial problems will always come up, so don’t bury your head in the sand. Whether it’s credit card bills or excessive debt, make time on a regular basis to sit together, talk things through and decide which steps you need to take next. Make discussing your financials part of your weekly routine so you don’t tip-toe around it and let it get out of control.

If your financial problems are controlling your relationship, speak to your bank or a financial advisor and create a plan to fix your financials. There is no shame in doing so, and the positive results are much more attainable than you think.

Lack of sex
You can’t expect to have the same sex life today as you had when you started dating. Accepting this should make things a little easier. But what’s important to realise is that even when the thrill that you once had is gone, you can get it back. But you need to work on it, and that’s the fun part. Take a weekend away together to get away from the kids, introduce role play into the bedroom, try out a few sex toys or it might be that you simply need to spend more time together.

Working long hours
It’s obvious: the more time that you spend at the office, the less time you have for your partner. Those long hours can wreak havoc on your relationship and lead to more problems at home.

If you work long hours, make sure you come home and tell your partner how much you love them and how much they mean to you. If your partner works long hours, try and make time for them when they get home, so they look forward to coming home. You should also sit down and talk about how you can make more time for each other. It won’t magically happen unless you discuss it.

Infidelity
Only you can decide if you can recover from infidelity. For some people, it’s a deal breaker, but for others, it’s an issue that can be worked on. Whether he cheated or you cheated, now is the time to sit down and talk about the infidelity – and what led up to it. You need to know why the cheating happened and what you can do to recover from the mistrust and discover how to trust again. You also need to learn how you can feel intimate with your partner again. No matter how big the problems between you might feel, there’s a good chance you can overcome those issues together.

What is your best bit of relationship advice? Share it in the comments!

December 11, 2013