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  • midlifelove 2:31 am on January 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , how to have a great marriage, Ian and Mary Grant, marriage, 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.

  • midlifelove 1:26 am on September 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ask Men survey, , marriage, prenuptial, , soul mates   

    What Men Want 

    menRomance is on the way back in according to an international men’s survey that showed 71% of men believe in marriage and 36% believe in soul mates.

    While the “modern man” may not be easy to identify – is he ”macho” or is he “metrosexual ,“  the Ask Men website survey canvassed the views of 50,000 respondents from around the world. The published results are analysed according to the responses from Australia, the US, the UK and Canada.

    According to the 2009 Great Male Survey:


    71% of men believe in marriage.

    36% of men believe they have a soul mate, and are still looking for her.

    39% don’t believe it’s important to sign a pre-nup.

    The perfect girlfriend:

    46% think that women put too much value on financial worth

    33% think that a beautiful wife or girlfriend is the ultimate status symbol

    The most important personality trait that makes a woman “relationship material” is a sense of caring/nurturing, which came above loyalty, sense of humour and intelligence.

    22% of men said if they could change one thing about their wife/girlfriend, it would be her sexual appetite followed by her attitude/moodiness and then her looks.

    44% would dump a girlfriend if she became fat.

    50% of men prefer a C-cup size breast


    44% of men believe they should pay for the dates until the relationship is established.

    72% of men would snoop in their partner’s email or other electronic messages

    90% of men say a couple should live together before marriage

    42% say they are comfortable with their girlfriend keeping in touch with her exes.

    4% of men wouldn’t be comfortable with dating a woman with a higher income than they.


    18% of men have lied about how many sex partners they’ve had to protect their ego.

    40% of men have fantasised about their partner’s friend.

    53% of men use condoms.

    60% of men would take the male pill if it were available.

    86% would be offended if a woman faked an orgasm during sex.

    26% of men have faked an orgasm

    33% of them have masturbated at work.

    50% of men would change their penis size if they could.

    Only 1% of men admitted that they cheat on their partner.

    84% have lied about the number of sex partners they have had

    Frequency of Sex in Relationships

    40% were “somewhat satisfied – there is room for improvement”

    14% were completely satisfied – wouldn’t change a thing about it and the rest were dissatisfied because of the quantity or quality of sex or had no sex life at all

    79% believed that to have a happy sex life couples needed sex “multiple times a week”

    33% engaged in sex “multiple times a week”

    At home:

    33% of men own seven or more pairs of shoes.

    39% admit that real men cry.

    62% cook at home and enjoy it.

  • midlifelove 3:52 am on September 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 30 to 50 year olds, , Callista Flockhart, , getting marrried, , Ivana Trump, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, marriage,   

    Wedding Bells Ring for 30-to-50 year olds 

    wedding copyIt’s a phenomenon that seems to be popping up all over – long time lovers and late starters getting married, often after years of living together, or as a second (or third) time-round  new beginning.

    Everyone from Ivana Trump to Harrison Ford and Lou Reed are making vows – or promising to – and the latest stats out of the UK indicate it’s a trend . . . marriage is increasing in popularity amongst the 30 to 50 year olds, while teenage married is dying out.

    Government stats show many of these 30 to 50 year olds – eight out of ten – were already living together at the time of their marriage, and growing numbers of divorcees are opting for second marriages.

    Famous 50-Pluses Marrying

    Trend setting musos Lou Reed (67) and Laurie Anderson (62) have been living together and making googly-eyes at each other on stage for over a decade, but the NYC lovers announced recently they got secretly married in Colorado in April. (Reed’s third marriage, Anderson’s first.)

    Harrison Ford (66) surprised his partner of seven and a half years Calista Flockhart (44), with an engagement ring on Valentine’s Day weekend while the two were away on a family vacation with son Liam. No wedding date has been set.

    And Ivana Trump, (59) who provided the final punchline to The First Wives’ Club – “Remember girls, don’t get mad … get everything! – just got hitched again.

    The ex-wife of real estate mogul Donald Trump tied the knot with Italian entrepreneur Rossano Rubicondi (36), her partner of six years, at her ex’s Florida mansion.

    Apparently Ivana had no qualms about walking down the aisle. “I don’t need to get married to get the babies,” she says. “I have them. I’m not marrying for the social position. I don’t need to get married because of money. It just feels right. I have no fears.”

    Good Reasons for Getting Hitched

    Australian social commentator and author of The Sex Diaries Bettina Arndt says there are good reasons to marry, even after years of living together.

    “I think many people take pleasure in the celebration, the public recognition that they have a lasting union. It is like a renewal of their vows – ‘Wow – we have made it through this far!’ – despite the fact that they never made vows in the first place.

    “Friends of mine did this recently . . . after living together for over twenty years. It was a very joyous occasion – all about telling the world that they have succeeded against the odds.

    Children Affected

    Bettina her friends’ children were especially delighted by their parent’s decision to make a long term commitment.

    “I think we underestimate how important it is to children to see their parent’s partnership as a permanent fixture.

    “And in fact children are right to see marriage as important. Research clearly shows that marriage does provide that extra glue, encouraging people to stick together.

    “It was long thought that cohabiting couples who have children together would be just as likely to stay together – for the sake of the children.

    “But the sad reality, revealed by recent Australian research, is that having children doesn’t make cohabiting relationships any more stable. Children with unmarried parents are far more likely to live through the break-up of their family than children with married parents.”

    (The UK stats support Bettina’s view. They show if cohabiting couples do not marry, the great majority break up within a few years. Only one in five couples last more than five years as cohabitees.)

  • midlifelove 10:53 am on August 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , commitment, , enduring, marriage, , , romantic meals, silver lining   

    Top 10 Reasons Recession is Good For Relationships 1 – 5 


    There’s an abundance of research showing that stressful events like job loss can be bad news for marriages – what with the ensuing stress, bad moods, and sex lives in the Ice Age.

    But the darkest cloud can have a silver lining, and there is also evidence that tough times can make relationships more enduring.

    One out of three people questioned in a Romance in Recession Poll in January 2009 feel that financial constraints have brought them and their partner closer together.

    So here they are, the Top 10 Reasons – Nos 1 – 5 – recession is good for relationships.

    1)      Economic adversity holds people together. Marriage expert John Gottman says data from the Great Depression suggests families were more cohesive, worked more as a team, and dealt with tough times together. The same seems to be holding true in this “recession”.

    2)      Divorce is down. Even divorce lawyers are feeling the pinch as couples decide to stick together rather than split their assets and separate, either because their jobs are less secure or their property has dropped in value.

    3)      Surviving misfortune together helps a couple solidify their commitment into an unshakeable us-against-the world resolve. Say the people who responded to the Romance in Recession Poll: “As a couple, we have confronted a lot of difficult problems over the past year and we feel it has made us closer.”

    4)      The sex gets better: In the same poll nearly 43 percent agree that they are spending more intimate time together and 20 percent feel that their sex lives have improved as a result of the economy. Typically they say “Our money concerns have made us closer, more loyal to each other and more supportive—mentally, physically and emotionally.”

    5)      Leisure activities became less dollar-driven and more family-based: Over half of all couples are spending more quality time together due to financial constraints “We go out to eat less often and we now enjoy special homemade romantic meals.”

  • midlifelove 4:55 am on July 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Helen Keller, Hopi Indians, , marriage, Robert Redford, , Santa Fe, Sibylle Szaggars, Sundance   

    Redford and Fonda – Life An Adventure or Nothing 

    Jane Fonda and Robert RedfordWhat is it about turning 70?  First Robert Redford gets married at 72, and then Jane Fonda announces she’s in love again at 71, having thought “all the good stuff” was now a thing of the past.

    The two stars – each a Hollywood legend in their own lifetimes – are powerful exponents of the Helen Keller* approach: “Life at any age is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing.”

    Redford, American cinema’s “eternal, and most principled, hunk” (Time, 2001) married his partner of 13 years, German abstract artist Sibylle Szaggars (51) in her hometown of Hamburg in July.


    New House in Santa Fe

    Engaged in May 2008, the couple recently announced they were building a house in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and starting an initiative there to support and encourage Hispanic and Native American film makers. It’s obviously a passion they share.

    On her website http://www.sibylleszaggars.com/index.html Sibylle records how her interest in old cultures and traditions led her live with Hopi Indians in Arizona after she moved to the US from London in the late 80’s. She said was “deeply touched by the Native Americans spiritual connectedness with life, the land and the world,” and developed large paintings inspired by the connection.

    In the 1990s after moving to Sundance, Utah, she met Redford and her artistic focus turned to “impending issues of extinction and environmental protection,” she says.

    Fresh New and Exciting

    In the new programme, veteran film directors, producers, actors and writers will work with Hispanic and Native American filmmakers in a series of labs which will be an independent offshoot of Redford’s famous Sundance Institute, he says. The goal is to help bring out under-represented voices of our society.

    Redford says he has been drawn to Hispanic cultures for years. He traces that appreciation to growing up as Anglo in a primarily Hispanic neighbourhood in Los Angeles. It grew when he worked on the 1988 hit film Milagro Beanfield War, which was filmed in New Mexico.

    Redford has decided to build his new home near the tiny village of Tesuque, just north of Santa Fe. The Sundance offshoot will be headquartered at Los Luceros, a historic hacienda and ranch between Santa Fe and Taos.

    “The exciting thing about this is that it’s basically a startup program,” Redford stated. “It’s fresh. It’s new. That excites me.”

    * (Keller, the deaf blind activist who inspired Oscar winning 1962 movie The Miracle Worker, was one of Gallup’s Most Admired People of the 20th Century)

  • midlifelove 4:15 am on April 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: braveheart, , jews, marriage, Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson, Mel Gibson, oksana, racist, Robyn, robyn moore, supremicist,   

    Top 10 reasons Robyn wants to divorce Mel Gibson. 

    mel-gibson10.  I am divorcing Mel Gibson over religious differences.
    He thinks he is God, and I don’t.

    9.  My love for Mel Gibson was blind but this marriage has been an eye opener

    8. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, I think this concept is worth trying out.

    7. He hasn’t dumped me; I am just setting him free.

    6. I found out that I and Mel are incompatible, I am Virgo and he is an Asshole

    5. He is going out with a less attractive person then me.

    4. He hasn’t had a shower since he starred in “Braveheart”

    3. He keeps calling me “Oksana”

    2. I have just got a tan and Mel is a white supremicist

    1. It is not for the money, (NOT) :P

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