Archive for January 2016

Video of the Week: “Keeping Up With the Johnsons”

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Since the embedded video was blocked, check it out here. My favorite lines: “If you didn’t get a paycheck for 400 years, when you did finally get one you might want to spend it. Of course, nowadays, that kind of attitude can get you in trouble!”

Learn more about Episode 13. Click here to read more about this amazing show.

Top 5 Communication Tips for Couples

by: Alan Stafford

1. If you want to be a better communicator, be a better listener. This means listening without reaction and without judgment. When your partner shares, you are observing your partner’s innermost feelings and emotions. These feelings are neither good nor bad. This is just how your partner feels. You don’t have to agree.

But, the first step in effective communications is to listen and understand that your partner feels that way. Communication in a good relationship isn’t just two people talking to each other. It is also two people listening.

2. When your partner is sharing a belief, an opinion, or a feeling, it is his feeling. He is entitled to it; it’s his. Telling him he’s wrong never works and makes people defend their positions. Do you remember your reaction last time when your partner said that you were wrong? It works just the same the other way. Remember that understanding and accepting that your partner has these feelings does not mean you agree with them.

3. Being a successful couple is not a win-lose game where one person has to give in. Being in a successful relationship means that neither of you is completely right, nor completely wrong. Successful communication between you and your partner may help you find a third alternative where you can both live happily. Example: you hate Chinese food; he hates Mexican food. You could argue forever until one person gives in and is miserable throughout the meal. Or, you could go to an Italian restaurant that you both like.

Two small tips: 1) don’t give up too soon – oftentimes you will need to talk the problem over for a few minutes before you find that common ground. 2) Don’t always give in to keep the peace- if you always give in and let your partner decide, it will someday result in having an “I’m tired of letting you make all the decisions!” kind of a row.

4. Learn the 3-step approach to solving the differences in your relationship:

a) Verbalize the behavior that is causing you a problem

b) Explain how the behavior is creating a problem for you

c) Request that your partner do something to change the situation. Notice that I did not say correct the behavior. Correcting implies that the behavior was wrong. You don’t need to make the behavior wrong. You just want the behavior to change.

5. Finally, never say no to your partner’s request. Not for money, not for help around the house, not even for sex. Your answer should be either “yes”, or you should make a counteroffer. Your partner can then counter your counteroffer. The counteroffers continue until both partners have a solution that both can live with.

This is another example of finding that third way. This process will strengthen your relationship. When you say “no”, you cause hurt and feelings of rejection. Saying “no” also shuts down future communication. Your partner will start thinking “I won’t ask her anymore, because the answer is always no”.

After all, that is what marriage is all about: a continual meshing, accommodating, and negotiating between two individuals trying to act as a couple. If you had wanted everything your way, you should have stayed single. Remember, when it comes to your relationship, it’s not my way; it’s not his way; it’s our way. Always look for that third way – that common ground where both of you can be happy.

About The Author

Dr. Alan Stafford, Relationship Results Coach
I help Singles and Couples build relationships that work
www.relationshipsuccessexperts.com

Photo of the Week: Monday Manifestation

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Click here to read “How to Manifest Your Desires.”

Don’t You Quit!

by: A.Z. Alfred

“A man who has nothing to die for is not fit to live.” -Martin Luther

You sat in that secret corner of your room. You felt the bubbles of excitement in your pumping machine (your heart) because an idea that will change the course of your life is replaying itself every three seconds between your ears. So full of life, you took a pen and a notebook, putting down your great idea in black and white. You set a target for yourself, a deadline and a date. You were so excited because of your dreams. And out you go with made plans and a determination to succeed.

After so many attempts, you seem to realize that things are not what you think they are. You realize that just like there are two sides to a coin, same with life. Simply because life has tossed challenges, which you call failures, your way, you chose to join the crew that believes every set plan is nothing but some alphabets and figures written on blank pages. More to say, you accepted the wrong notion that all doors leading to your success are shut, that the world won’t see your dreams. And you decided to quit, abandoning your quest. You actually conceded to the word “defeat.” You said to your despairing heart ” I am a failure.”

Of course you are right to have felt that way but before you tumble into a world of nightmares, before you cease to breathe life into your ideas, before you start seeing your-burnt-out-self depending on the monthly pay for the unemployed from Uncle Sam, lets go over a couple of ifs.

If Abraham Lincoln gave up so soon, he would not have been elected president of United States.

If Arnold Swazzenegger despaired after his first workout in the gym, he would not be the master of body builders. And he would not have been anywhere close to being the Governor of California State.

If Tim Berners Lee, the man who developed the World Wide Web, ended his career so soon because of disappointments, you would not now be surfing on the Internet. You would not be reading this either. Probably, electronics messaging would still remain in the horizon of the future.

If all great men, since the dawn of time, had given up so soon, where do you think civilization would be, back in the thirties or forties? Do you think you would have some weird country music, R and B and rap music on your disc man while on the train or bus? No! Everything would be back to the very beginning, millions of years before the birth of Ishmael and Isaac. One thing I know for sure, we would all be living comfortably -or uncomfortably, a negative word I rarely say-in caves, sharing authority with Simba, the Lion King. Our Mark and Spencer suits and fur coats would be replaced by some smelly animal skin dried in the sun. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? If you dare life that way, you can click your mouse and this page will vanish from your screen, never to be seen again. But if you don’t, then read on.

If you have chosen to read on, this is what I have to say.

Hold on to your dreams! Refuse to quit. Quitters never win and winners never quit. Take your time. Take a long walk. If you live in the city like me, take your long walk through city blocks. If you are in the countryside, you have a better advantage. Take the long walk through that vast field, befriending nature on the way.

Don’t just walk tucking your hands in your jacket pocket like a detective. No! Go over those plans of yours again and again as you walk. Rewrite if need be, there is great power in writing down. Don’t tell me you have a retentive memory. Write them down. You already have so much in your head, so write your dreams and plans down, paste it where you can see it everyday. Over the washing sink: beside that mirror, your restroom door. Paste it on your computer so you could see it as you chat with friends.

Then set out to bring it to past, ignoring those mountains, for mountains (which are your challenges) most times are made out of molehills and storms in teacups.

Tell yourself, ” I won’t quit until I get what I want. There is a YES behind every no and a solution to every pressing problem confronting me. I will find it.” Close your eyes, take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I have crossed the rubicon, and there’s no going back. I will either get a big hit with my plans or I will have to hang on longer than Abraham Lincoln.”

Say to yourself, ” I have gone too far from where I started from and I’m not giving up. Never!”

And as you seek your dreams with hands and feet unwearied by labors, remember that the dawn is not far in coming.

About The Author

A.Z. Alfred is a writer and a motivational speaker whose greatest pleasure is observing the world through a window while listening to inspirational songs. Coming soon, “Haiku with love” An inspiring poetry collection by A.Z. Alfred. To be published by Author House, USA www.writesight.com/blackzeal101

Photo of the Week: Colin Powell’s 13 Rules

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Click here to read more about the 13 Rules.

Video of the Week: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Video of the Week: Happy Founders’ Day!

I am pleased to post this video in honor of my sorority’s founders. I dedicate it to my sorors everywhere, especially those from Alpha Theta Chapter and particularly my line sisters (Fall ’87). Click here to read more about Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Marriage Counseling or Divorce? That is the Question

by: Martha Winfrey

Marriage counseling or divorce? That is the question being asked thousands of times every day across America. With so many marriages ending in divorce, the question can be asked: How many of those marriages might have been saved? Now a new book, combining the insights of five experts in a single volume, offers a multifaceted resource for helping avert the emotional trauma of breaking up a once happy marriage.

Entitled The Marriage Medics, the manual, published online at www.marriagemedics.com and co-authored by clinical psychotherapist Cynthia Cooper, Ph.D., spells out key reasons why so many marriages crumble, and cites ways in which couples might save their marriage.

The quintet of experts are: Dr. Cooper, who counsels couples and families; Dan Smith, a financial executive who helps couples resolve money problems; Dr. Patti Britton, a nationally recognized clinical sexologist; John Hunt, a noted attorney specializing in family law; and Cmdr. Bobbitti May, a U.S. Navy chaplain who advises military personnel on marital issues.

The book pinpoints several root causes of trouble in a marriage, and lists approaches for healing them. The reasons include:

Unrealistic Expectations & Festering Resentments

The former, according to Dr. Cooper, can involve differences over gender roles, i.e., who does what regarding tasking activities and decision-making. “Couples may reduce conflicts,” she writes, “by taking an equal-opportunity approach, by determining who is most qualified to do each task.” Unspoken resentments can grow out of, among other things, what Cooper terms “The Three A’s”–addiction (be it to drugs, alcohol, or TV), affairs, and abuse. Cooper points out that such dysfunctions can be alleviated by various means including: identifying the problem, learning how to handle emotions, and clinical therapy.

Money

The book cites data that 43 percent of all married couples argue over money, making it the No. 1 reason husbands and wives fight. The alternative, says veteran banker Daniel Smith, is for couples to realize that managing finances in a household is like running a business. Spouses should stop living beyond their means, forget about “keeping up with the Joneses,” agree on a financial plan, go on a credit-card “diet”–and celebrate when they pay off a debt.

Sexual Issues

This sensitive subject, Dr. Patti Britton notes, often involves difficulties concerning frequency and quality of intimacy. She enumerates “five basic areas that need to be addressed, unblocked, and then aligned for a couple to enjoy a healthy, passionate sex life.” They are: 1) Mind, 2) Emotions, 3) Body (including body image issues), 4) Energy and 5) Spirit.

Two other topics addressed in the book are: the legal web of divorce, and the importance of spiritual healing. Attorney Hunt points out that many couples do not anticipate the legal maze the parting process can represent, plus the potentially devastating financial costs. Navy Chaplain Bobbitti May, taking an ecumenical approach, suggests that, “Spirituality takes us beyond . . . fixed views of how we relate to God [and] others. . . . it is the practice of how we do relationships–both horizontally with another human being and vertically with our Higher Power.”

The Marriage Medics comes highly recommended by reviewer Jennie S. Bev, managing editor of BookReviewClub.com who says the book “teaches couples what to expect realistically from their partners –and themselves– and how to act, also realistically when it comes to sustaining their marriages. It’s like having a knowledgeable friend who knows the ins and outs of the married life.”

Tami Brady of the Blether Book Review says “Though The Marriage Medic is meant mainly for those couples with marital difficulties, much of the information included in this book will be helpful to any couple. This is particularly true of the sections on communications, vision of the relationship, underlying resentments, and gender roles. These issues and hints relate directly to nearly any relationship and therefore will be of value to almost any reader.” The Marriage Medics can be purchased online at: www.themarriagemedics.com

About The Author

Martha Winfrey, freelance writer is interested in relationships, travel, career, organizing, money saving, home decorating, fitness and celebrity topics. Martha can be reached at: marthawinfrey@themarriagemedics.com

Photo of the Week: Self-Love Month

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Click here to read more on self-love.

Photo of the Week: Financial Wellness Month

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Click here to read more about Financial Wellness Month.