Updates from January, 2010 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • midlifelove 2:31 am on January 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , how to have a great marriage, Ian and Mary Grant, , mens and womens brains different, tips for better marriage, unhappy marriage   

    How to Have a Great Marriage 

    Marriage is a two-storey house – that’s her story and his story, quips Ian Grant*, parenting and relationship guru, who with Mary, his wife of 40 years runs the highly successful Hot Tips on Marriage seminars in New Zealand and Australia.

    Now the couple have combined to write Growing Great Marriages, a book based on the Hot Tips seminars which offers hundreds of practical strategies for giving and getting the love you want in your marriage. Some of their ideas from the book:

    Top Five Tips for A Better Marriage

    1) Watch your language

    Research shows the ratio of praise to blame is like spring rain – praise and your marriage will flourish, blame and it will wither. Couples who say five positive things for one negative should be OK. When the threshold drops to one to two they are in trouble.

    Thousands of trials have shown men are much more affected by arguments than women are:  “flooding” – when brain messages bypass the thinking and judging mechanisms and go straight to the “old reptile brain” – the section of the brain that generates negative emotions and knee jerk reactions – happens at much lower levels of criticism in men than women and they stay in that flooded state for longer.

    2) Commit and invest in the relationship

    A 2002 study by the Institute for American Values in New York showed it was wrong to assume that someone in a troubled marriage has two choices: stay married and be miserable, or get a divorce and be happy. A survey of so-called “unhappily married” couples showed two thirds of the couples who stayed married were actually happier five years later.

    Other research shows if a partner invests into a relationship, he or she is happier. When you invest in something, you bond to it.

    3) Remember men’s and women’s brains work differently:

    Think of the brain like a house: In men brain activity focuses on different sections of the brain and they switch from section to section like someone moving from appliance to appliance in a house, switching them on when needed and then turning them off.

    Women’s brains function more globally – they’ve switched on everything in the house and left it on!

    Bill and Pam Farrel’s best seller Men are Like Waffles Women are Like Spaghetti (Harvest House)  gives a great picture for the way gender affects  the way men and women think.

    Women are good at multi-tasking because like a plate of spaghetti , their brain wiring is made up of lots of different strands, touching and intertwining with each other.  Women process life through interconnections. Every thought and issue is connected to every other thought and issue.

    Men’ brains are geared to work in a more compartmentalised way – like squares on a waffle. Don’t engage Dad in meaningful conversation while he is cooking the barbecue because he is focused on one thing – getting the meat cooked. Men will work on one square at a time, and then move on to the next one.

     

    4) Operate a love bank

    When difficulties arise, focus on restoring love, not resolving conflicts.

    Only one in four marriages is saved through counselling, which has traditionally focused on conflict resolution. But what most couples want is to maintain the feelings of romantic love, and if they can do that the conflict resolves itself. (Romantic love triggers the endorphins which give the pleasurable feeling of being in love)

    The Love Bank idea was developed by Dr William Harley, author of Fall in Love, Stay in Love. Think about the “love currency” you can deposit for your partner.

    Ask yourself “What can I do that makes him feel the best?” Men thrive when offered recreational companionship, sexual fulfilment and admiration from their wives. Women thrive on affection, openness and honesty. What makes people happiest is receiving attention from the people who matter most to us.

    5) Plan dates

    Ian and Mary Grant have dozens of great ideas of sharing positive time together. Amongst their suggestions:

    A 48 hour retreat; book somewhere special, take candles, special lingerie, etc and create your own haven.

    Work through the alphabet for date nights – some may be elaborate, and others as simples as a DVD you both want to see.

    Stage regular “cloth napkin dinners” with a formal setting, best cutlery and candles.

    On your wedding anniversary each year plan a special dinner and repeat your wedding vows to one another.

    *Ian and Mary Grant are high profile parenting and relationship gurus who founded Parents Inc, an Auckland based centre which runs nationwide seminars and courses on family and relationships.

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  • midlifelove 12:43 am on January 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: incurable optimist, , , successful Hollywood marriage, Tracy Pollan   

    Incurable Optimist: Michael J Fox 

    Family Ties and Spin City star Michael J. Fox is the first to acknowledge his diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 29 could have been the undoing of his life in many ways.

    He’d been married to fellow actor Tracy Pollan for just two years. The first of their four children, Sam, was just a baby.

    “It could have left us undone,” the Back to the Future megastar says in his latest book Always Looking Up – The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist.

    And if there was ever evidence needed that he is indeed, an optimist, you only need to look at how he has handled the challenge of living with illness.

    He and Tracy went on to have three more children (twins Schulyer and Aquinnah, and six years later, Esme) and build one of the most enduring marriages in Hollywood.

    An Amazing Life

    Michael was faced with a choice, he says. ”I could concentrate on the loss – or I could just get on with my life and see if maybe those holes started filling in themselves.  Over the last ten years they have, in the most amazing ways.

    “For everything the disease has taken something of greater value has been given. It may be one step forward two steps back but I’ve learned what is important is making that one step count.

    “Parkinson’s Disease has taken physical strength, spontaneity, physical balance, manual dexterity, the freedom to do the work I want to do when I want to do it, and the confidence that I can always be there for my family when they need me.”

    Happy Marriage

    In a chapter on family life titled ‘Why I’m still with Tracy and Shaky When I’m Not’ Michael says “Some people ask me the secret of a long and happy marriage, just as they ask me about the key to raising children. My flip answer in the kid department is “love ‘em, feed ‘em and keep ‘em out of traffic.” As for marriage, I often reply with equal brevity “Keep the fights clean and the sex dirty.”

    “Parkinson’s is always putting me in a box, and Tracy has become expert at folding back the flaps, tipping it over and easing me out.

    “She’d tell you probably with a laugh, that the greatest challenge she faces isn’t having a Parkinson’s patient for a husband, it’s having me for a husband. And by the way, I am a Parkinson’s patient.”

    Gains Greater Than Losses

    “The more complicated our marriage has got, the more it seems to bring out the best in us.

    “I was a big believer in my own PR: a happy-go-lucky lottery winner who had it all, a great career, a beautiful wife, a healthy son. I was struggling, though, with figuring out how to keep it all going. I was working more than I needed to, worrying more than I liked to admit, and drinking more than anyone should. I was, to put it mildly, not well positioned to deal with what was coming.

    “The change that Parkinson’s has forced up me and Tracy and the family, pales in comparison with the changes we have brought upon ourselves. We give more to each other than Parkinson’s could ever take away“.

     
  • midlifelove 12:23 am on January 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bill Gates, Dr Hilary Tindle, fewer heart attacks, , live longer, lower heart risk, , optimist, University of Pittsburgh research study.research study on optimists   

    Optimists Enjoy Better Health 

    It seems life’s most public optimists – “Can Do” power houses like Lance Armstrong, Bill Gates and Michael J Fox – are onto something.

    New research indicates being an optimist significantly cuts your chances of suffering a heart attack, and even helps you live longer.

    In the largest study done on the effect of positive thinking on health, University of Pittsburgh researchers found that compared to pessimists, optimists had a nine per cent lower risk of developing heart disease and a 14 per cent lower risk of dying from any cause.

    Bad Times Bring Good

    Seven times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong credits much of his own success on the bike to his battle with testicular cancer.

    “I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that none of, none of my success on the bike would have been possible without that disease,” he said. “Life wouldn’t have been necessarily empty, but it would not have looked like this.” Armstrong also said his optimism is inspired by his mother, who overcame her own set of challenges as a teen mom.

    “I give all the credit to my mom,” he said. “She’s really a survivor. She’s as strong and tough as they come and she never looks at anything in a negative light.”

    Incurable Optimist Michael J Fox

    Armstrong’s personal example, and the LiveStrong foundation he set up to support cancer survivors, inspired actor Michael J Fox to start his own Fox Team foundation for research into Parkinson’s Disease.

    In his most recent book Always Looking Up – the Adventures of an Incurable Optimist Fox says that “for everything the disease has taken something of greater value has been given. It may be one step forward two steps, back but I’ve learned what is important is making that one step count.”

    Bill Gates – Impatient Optimist

    He’s in good company. Microsoft founder Bill Gates has characterized himself as an “impatient optimist.”  And for those that know him, both terms describe him well.

    Gates has focused on his philanthropic efforts–which focus on areas where there is great suffering as well as the means to alleviate that suffering through attention and increased resources. But, too often, he says change is not coming quickly enough.

    The University of Pittsburgh study – on post-menopausal women – found the positive benefits of being optimistic were independent of income, education, or “health behaviors like [controlling] blood pressure and whether or not you are physically active, or whether or not you drink or smoke,” says Dr. Hilary Tindle, lead author of the study. “I was surprised that the relationship was independent of all of these factors.”

     
  • midlifelove 5:20 am on January 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: weight sexual turn-off, worry about weight and sex life   

    Sex and Weight Biggest Worries 

    Worry about weight and how it affects our sex lives is life’s major fear for many people, according to a Reader’s Digest global survey.

    Australians appear to be the world’s biggest worriers when it comes to weight and how it affects performance in the bedroom.

    The Sydney Morning Herald reports a hefty 52 per cent said excess weight “seriously impacted” their sex lives – more than any other country except Mexico, which came in equal first with Australia.

    Wish Partner Would Lose Weight

    50% of Aussies thought they cared much too much about their waistlines, but at the same time secretly wished their partners would lose a few kilos.

    The revelations are part of a large-scale survey conducted by Readers Digest that took in the thoughts of some 6000 people from 16 countries around the world.

    In the workplace, one in three Australians believe being fat “seriously interferes” with career advancement, while four per cent have dieted in a bid to impress the boss.

    Do You Worry Weight is a Turn Off?

    Do you sympathise with people who feel insecure about their weight? Do you worry your weight makes you sexually unattractive?  Do you catch yourself thinking your partner would be more desirable if they lost a few pounds?  Let us know how your thoughts about weight affect your sex life and your romantic fantasies.

     
  • midlifelove 5:08 am on January 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , living alone, men in their 40s and 50s, men living alone, , , solo   

    More Men Living Alone 

    Men in their 40s and 50s are the fastest growing part of Australia’s living-alone population – and according to new research many of them are lonely, struggling, and hoping their solo state is temporary.

    The increase in men alone is due to more never having married, and many more getting divorced but not living with their children, according to a recent Sydney Morning Herald report.

    A survey of 2006 census data, and a related La Trobe University project shows the proportion of people aged 40 to 49 who live on their own has risen 75 per cent from 5.2 per cent to 9.1 per cent.

    Living Alone in Your 40s

    People in their 40s are now more likely to live alone than those in their 20s or 30s.

    Living Alone in Australia, shows that for people under 60, living alone is mainly a male phenomenon, and the men have become older.

    The middle-aged men who were living alone were on average less well-off, less educated and in lower-status jobs compared with middle-aged women living alone, or other men, the paper said.

    They also tended to say they were lonely. ”They are considerably more socially disadvantaged,” researcher Professor David de Vaus said. ”It might be they find it harder to partner, or re-partner.”

    Have Your Say

    Are you living alone, or have you had a period living alone in the past? Which do you prefer? What are the pros and cons of living with someone else? Give us your ideas on what you enjoy the most.  If you’re a man who’s worried about starting a new relationship help is at hand at with a new natural sex enhancer which  could give you a new sense of confidence.

     
    • Poppa John 7:00 pm on January 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I lived with a life partner for 43 years until she died. Living alone stinks. I am sure I will find someone to share my bed but I doubt that I will ever find another person to share my mind. Dont go to church and the person I’m looking for wont be there anyway. Wont find many superior minds in bars so not likely to look there. In the end I’ll settle for the bed being filed and my family, children and grandchildren sharing my mind.

      • midlifelove 12:56 am on February 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        You are so right you will never find another companion who will share your life for 43 years like you last partner. but I wouldn’t be quite so defeatist about never finding someone special again. Why not think about how you can give back to your community in an area you enjoy and are interested in? You just might find someone who shares many of your interests – when you are focusing on needs beyond your own.

  • midlifelove 3:55 am on January 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: believe in Santa Claus, BMW used car ads, Greece, womens groups outraged   

    BMW’s Used Cars – Sleazy or Virginal? 

    If you’re in the market for a second-hand BMW in the US, you’re a fatherly type who wants his innocent little blonde daughter to believe in Santa Claus.

    If on the other hand you’re living in Greece, forget the virginal. You’ll be enticed by sleazy innuendo which equates a “used” car to a beautiful woman in a come-hither pose and asks “You know you’re not the first. But do you really care?”

    That’s the only conclusion to be drawn from ads which infuriated women’s groups when they first surfaced a couple of years ago, and are now being circulated again.

    Women’s blogging networks ran hot with outrage at this BMW ad for Greece:

    However if you lived in the US you would have seen this almost ludicrously sentimental

    It is fascinating how an international brand marketer like BMW, spending a lot of time, money and research on its messages, can come up with two such different versions of the same theme: “BMW’s premium used cars are so beautiful, it won’t matter if you’re not the first driver.”

    And how one culture could get lathered up about seeing a young girl as “used” while another doesn’t even see it as something worth commenting on.

    What do you think?

     
  • midlifelove 12:45 am on January 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: housework, men's work, , women's work, work life balance   

    More Housework, More Sex 

    MEN who do more housework get more sex. It’s official. And women who do more housework get more sex, too. A new US study reported in the Sydney Morning Herald of almost 7000 married couples shows that couples who work hard, play hard.

    It seems a select group of “go-getter” couples balance paid work, chores and still manage to make sex a priority, according to the research, which shows the couples made love 1.6 times a week.

    And while the women still did almost twice as much housework as the men, there was only a small difference in total hours worked when paid employment was added.

    Less housework, less sex

    The study found if slothful women and men – those who did housework for only 16 hours and two hours a week, respectively – increased their effort to match the high performers (women who did 68 hours and men 45 hours a week) they could expect to have sex 15 more times a year.

    As well, men and women who spent more time in paid work reported more sex, leading the researchers to conclude that ”individuals may be achievers across multiple spheres”.

    The US researchers say their findings debunk the theory that time spent on some pursuits, such as jobs or housework, must be stolen from other areas, such as sex. ”The much-lamented speed-up of everyday life … does not appear to have adverse effects on sexual frequency,” they say.

    Vacumn Cleaner ‘Best Sex Aid’

    The findings contradict an Australian study which showed working women found resentment over housework killed libido.

    ”If the resentment factor was high that’s when their sex life was not great. The best sex aid a man could use was a vacuum cleaner,” says Barbara Pocock, the director of the Centre for Work and Life at the University of South Australia,

    She also wondered about the sex lives of those women – about one-third – who say they feel ”almost always rushed and pressed for time”, especially mothers who did more than 20 hours a week of paid work.

    Have Your Say

    So what is your experience? Have you got the balance right and is your sex life sizzling? Or are you feeling like sex is just another chore you’re expected to do to keep the household functioning? Let us know what your experience is…

     
  • midlifelove 11:35 am on January 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Air New Zealand, cougar promotion, Grabaseat, predatory sex OK?   

    Predatory Sex OK? 

    Is it funny when an airline sells seats around predatory sexual behaviour? It seems award winning airline Air New Zealand thinks so – if it’s older women stalking young men.

    Only a week after New Zealand’s national carrier won Airline of the Year from a global airline magazine, its attracted criticism for a Grabaseat website promotion encouraging women over 35 to fly to the Sevens Rugby tournament in Wellington.

    The so-called cougars can’t be too bright if they fall for the promotion, which requires them to pay all their own transport and accommodation costs. (Or as the promotion cutely describes it “find their own dens”.) They get “cougar costumes and equipment to make noise to attract the attention of young males.” Wow. Irresistible.

    It’s funny that the unfortunately named “Grabaseat” promotion  comes ten days after former All Black Robin Brook made headlines – and  reportedly faces legal action – after it is alleged he did just that – grabbed a 15-year-old’s buttocks while partying at a Fijian resort.

    It kind of highlights the confusion there is over what’s OK behaviour doesn’t it? So what do you think?  Is the Air NZ promotion a “light-hearted” joke that shouldn’t be taken too seriously? And in that case, has the 15-year-old got anything to complain about, even if an older man did allegedly give her an appreciative “pinch” as he passed by?

     
  • midlifelove 12:23 am on January 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Catherine Hickland, David Hasselhoff, Getting over heartbreak, Michael E Knight, The 30-Day Heartbreak Cure, top five To Do's for getting over your Ex   

    Top Five “To Do’s” For Getting Over Heartbreak 

    As “Closing Time” by 90s alt rockers Semisonic reminds us, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

    We’ve covered the “Top Five No-Nos” for relationship break up – now here’s the Top Five “To Do’s” for putting the past behind you.

    1. Hang out with your friends

    Let your friends give you a reality check on how your ex wasn’t all that great to begin with, and that there are more fish in the sea. Let them remind you of some of the irritating habits he or she had – like putting you down in front of them.

    A little chick-bonding or male camaraderie can go a long way towards getting your head straight. Everyone has experienced disappointment in love at some time and probably will again, and most friends are happy to boost your spirits in the early stages.

    2. Do lots of new things

    You may not be feeling too much like venturing out without your partner, but take the plunge anyway. There’s a world of activities you can partake in that you were never able to enjoy because your “other half” didn’t approve.

    So indulge. Travel. Build a model plane. Go hiking. Play video games on your computer. Watch TV all weekend. Go to a cooking school or start boxing.  Do anything you want. Ideally, you want to find an activity that allows you to release your anger and alleviate stress.

    3. Do something for someone else

    In The 30 Day Heartbreak Cure Catherine Hickland, soap diva, clinical hypnotist and businesswoman, outlines a month-long program for getting life back together that includes stepping outside your own soggy meltdown to help someone else.

    Hickland – whose ex-husbands include actors David Hasselhoff and All My Children Emmy winner Tad (Michael E) Knight – does life skills workshops for a Prison Ministry in Texas. You may not want to get that involved, but at least get out and baby sit for a friend or take an elderly neighbour shopping.

    It will give you a buzz and remind you others have needs – some of them much more desperate – than yours.

    4. Set daily goals

    Every set-back is a set up for an incredible comeback, says Catherine Hickland, who tells of wallowing in self pity for days before picking herself up and deciding on a date for “Heartbreak Cured”. She marked her calendar with daily activities and goals for the next month.

    “A break up is really the first days for a life change,” she says. Do things that will make you feel more desirable, such as going to the gym or getting a new haircut. Walk on the beach. Start a journal. Buy a new outfit or go out to the club with your friends.

    5. Avoid using alcohol, drugs, sex or food to cope

    When you’re in the middle of a breakup, you may be tempted to do anything to relieve your feelings of pain and loneliness. But using alcohol, drugs, sex or food as an escape is unhealthy and destructive in the long run. It’s essential to find healthier ways of coping with painful feelings.

    And although a “rebound romance” may take your mind off your ex for a while, it will also complicate your future and allow you to avoid looking at the way you do relationships – setting you up for a repeat breakup not too far down the track.

     
    • Dan Dennick 11:34 pm on January 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      The bit about the the setting daily goals is a good tip… Especially in those first few weeks as it really does feel like your taking it one day at a time.

      I think the bit about exposing yourself to novelty and new things is a great idea to ease the pain of heartbreak as well…

  • midlifelove 12:27 am on January 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: break-up no no's, getting over your ex, Lisa Nowak, obsessive love, Top Five break up no no's   

    The Top Five Break Up No Nos 

    If you’ve spent more time mooning over a past relationship than you spent dating the object of your affections, here’s some tips to get over the loss and get dating again.

    1. Don’t Ring: It’s natural that in times of pain, you reach out to the person you feel closest to. Unfortunately, the person closest to you just took your heart and used it to clean the toilet. Calling him or her – whether it’s oh so calculatedly casual “just to catch up” or protesting that “you’ll never meet anyone as awesome as me ever again!” will only cost you your dignity and make them even more certain they were right to dump you.

    2. Be Wary of “Researching” (i.e., Cyberstalking): Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, et al., make this not only tempting, but ridiculously easy. But do your best to refrain from checking his relationship and/or mood status every ten seconds. Block his IM and delete his RSS. And don’t even think about luring him in with a fake online dating profile.

    3. Take Care with Retail Therapy: The list of approved post-breakup purchases is short: anything from your favorite boutique that sells stuff you consistently look amazing in. Don’t spend money just for the sake of it, on things you hate as soon as you get home. You’ll end up in debt and even more miserable.

    4. Don’t Discuss Him or Her with Mutual Friends: Avoid talking about the relationship with mutual friends who will carry back what you say to your ex. Yes your friends might want to know the gory details but your ex doesn’t want everyone knowing her or her personal business without their consent so respect them and keep your mouth closed. If a mutual friend asks why you split just say it was time to move on.

    5. Let Go of Romantic Ghosts: Don’t keep holding a torch for past lovers long past their “Use By” Date. At the extreme end of romantic obsession don’t be like NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak, who drove cross-continent to stalk her love rival and just escaped jail on attempted kidnap charges after a plea bargain.

    But even the lover who keeps old ticket stubs, hand written notes and empty champagne bottles once shared with the object of affection gives new dates the creeps. Your head space is populated by the past, and there’s no room for anyone new.  Confront yourself in the mirror every day and say (and believe):  “X is in my past and I am moving on in an exciting new life without him/or her.”

     
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