Communication

Growing Together Instead of Growing Apart
While it can be common to worry about growing apart as your life and relationship evolve, there are active steps you can take to help you grow together.

While it can be common to worry about growing apart as your life and relationship evolve, there are active steps you can take to help you grow together.

Relationships can be tricky. While finding a suitable romantic partner can be complicated in and of itself, the struggle doesn’t stop the moment you meet your match. In fact, the longer you’re with the same partner, the more likely it is you’ll encounter new and unusual issues you hadn’t anticipated. One common problem for long-term couples is growing apart as the years go on. Though a common fear for many, there are many simple ways to focus your efforts and learn to grow together and strengthen your existing bond instead.

Spend Time Alone

When you first meet a potential romantic partner, it can compel you to want to spend each and every moment with this person. As the years go on and your relationship grows, you begin to take the other person for granted in subtle ways. Sitting around the house together and staring at your phones might seem like you are spending time together, but you’re technically just occupying the same space at the same time. To keep your relationship strong, there must be a concerted effort to spend meaningful time with each other.

Life is going to take you both in very different directions, and it is important to find activities you enjoy doing alone, or without your partner. However, if you don’t actively dedicate time in your schedule to each other, your relationship will start to fizzle away. Sit down together on a weekly basis and have a “check-in” about your week. This creates an excuse to talk to each other about work, school, or whatever activities you take part in separately. Having a vested interest in your partner’s life helps to reduce the odds of distance growing between you.

Fight When You Need To Fight

Many people have strong reactions about whether or not fights are healthy in a relationship. While newer couples tend to shy away from arguments, studies have shown that a bit of fighting can be incredibly helpful for relationships of all types. While you definitely don’t want to argue over every little thing, a fight is an opportunity to work through an issue that is bothering you. When you constantly avoid arguments because you fear they will upset the peace, you’re really shoving down your emotions until they explode out of you in less healthy ways.

One key to understanding arguments is learning how to admit your mistakes. Saying “I’m sorry” is definitely key, but an empty apology is about as useful as a toothbrush with no bristles. Don’t apologize just to end an argument. Instead, take a look at what your partner is pointing out and try to own whatever issues are being addressed. The more you both acknowledge each other’s frustrations, the easier it is to find meaningful solutions for the future to help lower the odds of the same issue repeating time and time again.

Work Together

The healthiest relationships are typically made up of two people who know how to work together for a common goal. Sadly, there are plenty of circumstances in which you might feel your partner is not in your corner and vice versa. During these moments, it is crucial to remind yourself that your significant other is not your enemy. Though you might not see eye to eye, you need to think about what matters in the moment. At the end of the day, all successful relationships consist of two individuals who know how to work together.

No matter how long you have been with your significant other, growing apart can be a very real concern at any stage of your relationship. To avoid drifting from the person you love, you must take active steps to spend more meaningful time together. By making this effort to connect, you can reduce the odds of the passage of time pushing you farther away from each other.

Tips for Surviving Your First Year of Marriage
The first year of marriage can be a tricky one. Thankfully, surviving it with your partner is not a complicated endeavor. Consider these tips.

The first year of marriage can be a tricky one. Thankfully, surviving it with your partner is not a complicated endeavor. Consider these tips.

The time leading up to your wedding can be a chaotic period. With so much planning to do, you may not consider what life will be like after you’ve tied the knot. The first year of marriage can be a tricky one. There are a number of adjustments you are going to need to make in order to accommodate your new status as a couple. Thankfully, surviving the first year of marriage is not a complicated endeavor. Consider these tips to gain a little bit of insight on how to make this year an enriching one.

Conflicts Will Happen

It stands to reason that you and your significant other have already gotten into a few fights before deciding to get married. Conflict is a natural part of any relationship. For some reason, however, many couples become a lot more concerned about arguments after getting married. Though it may feel like fighting is going to put you on the path to divorce, this isn’t the case. How you handle the conflicts, however, can and will dictate the future of your relationship. Learn to pick and choose your battles. This is the best way to avoid unnecessary squabbles.

Communicate

A great way to reduce conflicts and enjoy your first year of marriage is by communicating. More often than not, problems in a relationship develop when two people are no longer on the same page. Unfortunately, it is easy to fall into the wrong habits with your spouse. When you both work long days, you may not feel like discussing relationship topics when you’re together after work. This might force you to push off issues that need attention. By focusing on open communication, you and your significant other will be able to understand where the other is coming from.

Be a Partner

During your first year together, you and your spouse will be learning how to properly support each other. Understanding how to be an actual partner to your significant other is a process of trial and error. Everyone has different needs and emotional requirements when it comes to relationships. The way you prefer to be comforted when you’re upset may be very different than what your spouse requires. The trick is paying attention and understanding the best way to provide support when it is needed from you.

Include Family

Marrying a person means you are marrying his or her entire family. This can often be a point of contention. If either of you has intense family members who cause a lot of drama or are very needy, you can’t take it out on each other. Keep communication open and mention when you feel like a family member is being too much. You also need to be receptive to criticism from your significant other about your own family. Be mindful of the way your relatives behave and the demands they place on your relationship.

Stay Physical

Physical contact is wildly important to keeping a relationship alive and healthy. While you don’t need to have sex every night, it can be good to try and be physical with one another when possible. Endless studies have shown a consistent sex life can keep the fire burning in a relationship. Get into a groove that makes sense for your own schedules during the first year of marriage, and learn how to keep romance alive for years to come.

Practice Patience

Finally, learn how to practice patience. People who are slow to anger are usually a lot easier to deal with. If you fly off the handle at every little thing, it will only cause unneeded stress in your relationship.

Surviving your first year of marriage is no small venture. Get into the right habits by following these tips, and you will be able to discover the best way to keep your love alive.

Why Finances Matter Long Before Your Wedding
Finances matter long before the wedding takes place.

Finances matter long before the wedding takes place.

The idea of marriage has changed a lot over the centuries. Once upon a time, most couples wed for the sake of their families and futures. When two families would join together as a result of a marital union, it would often bring forth plenty of financial benefits to both sides. In fact, many brides and grooms were sized up by potential partners based solely on how much wealth or property their families possessed. These days, the reasons people marry are different, but there are some similarities when it comes to financial matters.

Getting married means sharing everything with your significant other. This, of course, means finances will often be included. People usually get weird when pressed to talk about money. If you and your significant other have not had a conversation about money and the future, then now is an important time to begin. Without this discussion, you could be in for some upsetting or confusing surprises that add stress to the bonds of marital bliss. Take a moment to look over these tips and see what makes the most sense for your situation.

The Practical Side

When you are marrying someone, you are taking on everything this person embodies or possesses and you are making it a part of your life. The good and the bad come along with this. If your partner has a lot of debt, then you might be taking on this debt with your union. Before you get married, you are going to want to sit down with your partner and begin to discuss financial matters and how you will both be impacted by the wedding.

It might not even matter much to you that your partner is currently in debt. Still, you could want to make a plan to help remove this situation from your lives. Having this talk about money early can help both of you to make plans for the future. Discuss how to get out of debt and what you can both do to create a chunk of savings that will last a good long while. The earlier you have this talk, the less stressful it may wind up being when you enter married life. 

Finances After the Wedding

In many cases, a talk about finances is about a lot more than money. You and your significant other might not really have a clear idea of what either of you would like to do for work after marriage. When you both work all the time, it can make it difficult to take the next step in your relationship. Namely, this means finding time to have and raise children. Now is the right time for you to start these conversations. Hopefully by this point the topic of children has come up. If not, now is your chance.

Children are quite a big responsibility to take on. Not only do you need to have the time to raise them, you also need a significant amount of money. During your talk about your future finances, you may want to breach the topic of children. Discuss the best possible paths for making your dreams into a reality. You might discover that it is possible for one of you to work and the other to take care of the family. You’ll never know until you have the talk.

Tomorrow Starts Today 

Most people feel weird discussing money. While this is a natural feeling, it also can be problematic to avoid these conversations with your significant other. To truly enjoy married life, it is a good idea to have open conversations about finances early. Beginning this chat with enough time to spare can allow both of you a bit of room to figure out any snags or issues that you might predict along the way.

Talking About Funeral Plans With Your Loved Ones

ThinkstockPhotos-482746437It’s only three months into the year, and the world has mourned the deaths of many popular figures. Alan Rickman, Maurice White, René Angélil, and Nancy Reagan are just a few of the beloved celebrities who have passed away in 2016. This should remind everyone that life is short, and you never know when you will have to deal with a death of a loved one. No one wants to think about it, but the best time to discuss funeral plans with your family is when you’re healthy. Here are some tips to open the dialogue with your parents, spouse, or sibling about your own wishes in the event of your death.

Before you can talk about what you want, you need to think about your desires. Do you have funeral arrangements? Do you want to be cremated? What kind of a service would you like? You cannot give your family a plan without having one. Make some notes about what should go into your obituary. Sometimes, children have no idea what you did before you were their parent or what you believe is important to be noted in the announcement.

Starting a Difficult Conversation

Talking about death isn’t easy. Make time in a neutral setting. Start talking about your health. Assure your loved ones that you aren’t dying, but you do have an important topic to talk about. Explain why you want to tell them about your funeral plans. Remind them of a time in your family when plans weren’t in order and how crazy that was. Tell them you just want to make it easier for them in the event of your death, which you hope doesn’t happen for a long time.

You should be prepared for different reactions. People may respond in various ways, which is perfectly understandable. Bringing up this topic can really catch your children or spouse off guard, so they might react with denial, “I just can’t think about this right now.” In that case, tell them you understand, but you would like to be able to share the information with them. You may need to give them a day or two to process the conversation. You may want to change the subject and bring it up in a couple of days.

Another reaction is alarm or disbelief that you’re healthy. You may get asked if you’re not telling them something. Remember that you’ve been thinking about this subject for a while, and they are just hearing about it. Death is not something that people generally talk about. Many people think that if they don’t talk about something, it just won’t happen. Don’t push, just segue into another topic.

If You Just Can’t Bring It Up

For whatever reason, you just can’t talk to those you love. Maybe your kids are too young, or they aren’t in a stage of life where they can deal with your future death. It’s okay. Families have different communication styles. The way to get around this is to write things down. You don’t need to give every detail. Put your instructions with your other important papers. Be assured that this will definitely help your loved ones when the time comes.

One recommendation, even if you have talked to your family: It would still be a good idea to put your wishes in writing. People forget. Loved ones disagree about what is truly your voice. If you only talked to one person, but there are multiple people making decisions, the one you told might be in a place where he or she has to defend your wishes. Having a written plan can help those you leave behind to really know what you want. Once you’ve explained your own plan, you can then ask your loved ones to think about their own wishes, just in case.