Signs of a Healthy Relationship

Signs of a Healthy Relationship

Psychology Today posted an article on 50 characteristics of a healthy relationship. Below we’ll list out our top 25 signs of a healthy relationship. Go through the list with your partner and discuss.

  1. You and your partner are playful with one another
  2. You think your partner has smart ideas at times
  3. You think about each other when you can’t be physically close
  4. You trust your partner
  5. When you disagree, you’re both able to be sensible and at least see the other persons’ point of view
  6. Your partner is happy when things go well for you, and vice versa
  7. You reminisce about past things that have been positive
  8. You touch each other every day in the form of hugs and kisses
  9. Your partner is a safe place to be vulnerable about fears, worries, insecurities, failures, etc.
  10. You can list positive personality traits your partner inherited from his parents
  11. You both provide each other with a sense of security- knowing the other will be faithful in the relationship and also won’t jeopardize finances
  12. You express appreciation for the other regularly
  13. You sense your individual strengths complement one another
  14. You’re okay taking constructive feedback from your partner
  15. When you hear, You’re Body Is a Wonderland, you immediately think of your partner
  16. You can appreciate the ways you’ve grown as individuals and as a couple
  17. When you’re dealing with life stressors, you can turn to your partner for comfort
  18. You feel as though you’re teammates with your partner, working together to accomplish great things together
  19. You know facts about your partner’s childhood and understand their family relationships a bit
  20. You feel comfortable challenging one another
  21. You view your partner as a warm and gentle spirit
  22. You make each other laugh
  23. You get along with at least one of your partner’s friends
  24. You rarely have contempt for your partner
  25. When arguments happen you still feel as though your partner cares about your feelings

Female Sexuality

I remember a close friend opening up while we were still in college and she asked, “So do you think it’s okay for girls to masturbate?” Being a professed believer, I knew what response I should give, and what I did occasionally in the privacy of my own home to contradict one another. I gave her the Christian response, “Well no. We’re not supposed to lust after those who are not our married spouse.” But later on I wondered if that was really a beneficial answer.

Honestly, I had masturbated occasionally out of curiosity about how my own sex organs worked. What if I had been honest and said, “I think girls are equally as curious as guys are, and at the same time I know I’m suppose to remain pure in my thoughts until I’m married.” And then maybe offered her some comment to normalize what she may had felt when asking that question, “It’s hard to be a 20 something single person. I don’t know if God had intended us to through puberty and add on 10-15 years with no way to release a desire her created our clitoris for.”

Then that interaction really got me thinking, why have Christian circles framed sexuality as a guy’s only issue. Guys are allowed to discuss in their guy circles their struggles with sexual sin, usually only touching on matters of pornography or not remaining abstinent until marriage. It baffles me that women don’t also talk about their struggles around sexuality.

If you really believe that men and women were designed to complement one another, then if one demographic, men, are struggling with sexual sin, than wouldn’t it be obvious that there is another complementary group that is also probably struggling. Each respective group probably struggles in their in own way, but why not open up the dialogue. Maybe this should just look like ladies talking with other ladies about sexual matters. Later on, maybe mature married believers can share what they’ve learned from both sexes and create some solutions.

If you’ve got a bunch of 20 or 30 something single men and women that are struggling with remaining pure and abstinent until they’re married then maybe our solution should be, get married earlier and don’t let yourself burn with passion with no way of releasing that.

Or if you’ve been married awhile and you’re wife is no longer feeling sought after or no longer feels as beautiful as she once did; maybe those feelings lead to her not being as interested in sex. How might this decrease in sex drive impact both the husband and wife relationship negatively? Maybe she wants to have sex but depends on her husband’s pursuit and desire to increase her libido.

Or what if your husband has been making sexual advances over the last month or 6 months or years without his wife showing any interest. What does that do to his self esteem? He wants his wife, but she ignores him and doesn’t understand his need for sexual connection. Out of those feelings, he starts looking at the Victoria Secret website after she goes to bed because he needs to feel like a man in his mind and also the release that masturbation provides. How does this impact the marriage relationship once she finds out?

Who’s the one to blame? Maybe that’s where husbands are responsible to their wives and vice versa, wives are responsible to their husbands. Don’t lust after someone that is not your spouse, and also be responsive to your spouses’ sexual advances and needs. Think of the other person before yourself. “Reframe” the concept of sexuality to not just be a guy’s issue, but an issue that both men and women were created with. Both sexes were made as sexual beings and in order to rightfully use this part of our being, we need our spouses.

Selfies: Not Just For Narcissists!

Selfies: Not Just For Narcissists!

SELFIE defined by Merriam Webster as an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social media.

SELF PORTRAIT defined by Merriam Webster as a painting or drawing of yourself that is done by yourself.

Selfies are the new, updated version of an artistic self-portrait. According to Wikipedia self portraits were not always intended to be on public display, but were intended instead for talking points about the person being painted or as a way to judge the artist’s artistic ability.

We love visual art because of its ability to convey a message without using any words. It’s no wonder when you think about art history why there are so many self-portraits or portrait type art made. Nude portraits in particular have been popular throughout all of history, and have stayed high in demand. Think for a moment about “manly” guy magazines, like Maxim or Playboy. There is a market for nude, female portraits. God has created the female figure to be captivating to the male eye.

Here on our blog we like to take ideas that are in the mainstream, and figure out how the concept can be used to benefit and strengthen the marriage relationship. So in line with this thinking…

Wives could you create artistic, nude self portraits to share with your husband showing off your captivating and awe-inspiring body? This little exercise isn’t just for to beneficial for your husband. You can benefit from snapping some photos of your body and really taking in how beautiful it is? It’s helpful to externalize by capturing images of your body and reflecting on the gorgeous woman in those photos. That’s what positive self-talk is, vocalizing and affirming to yourself what beautiful attributes you do have. Maybe your husband can pick up a camera and share through captured images what he sees when he looks at you too.

Thoughtfully plan out the ways you want to express who you are to your husband and to yourself in these photos. What do you want your nude self portraits to communicate? How often do you want to update these to really capture who you are throughout your life span?

This exercise is beneficial for many reasons. One reason being it can increase your body image when reviewing the photos. Discussing the imagess can be a way of connecting emotionally to your spouse. It’s a fun way to be creative and a cool “gift” to give your husband. If your husband needs to travel at weeks at a time or is deployed, etc, this is a gift that allows him to think of you and focus on you and you alone when he cannot be with you in person.

You can get your own selfie stick here on Amazon.

 

Music Musing: Santa Baby!

Music Musing: Santa Baby!

“Santa baby, just slip a Sable under the tree for me;
Been an awful good girl, Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight

“Santa baby, a ’54 convertible too, light blue;
I’ll wait up for you, dear; Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Think of all the fun I’ve missed;
Think of all the fellas that I haven’t kissed;
Next year I could be just as good… if you check off my Christmas list…

Come and trim my Christmas tree with some decorations bought at Tiffany’s;
I really do believe in you;
Let’s see if you believe in me…

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing… A ring…
I don’t mean on the phone; Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight

Hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry, tonight!” -Santa Baby written by Joan Javits and Philip Springer

Written to Santa from an adult woman who’s made Santa’s “nice” list. Her Christmas wishlist is quite comical because of its extravagance.  She has to remind Santa she’s been a good girl by remaining faithful to him and saving all her kisses for him. The song is sung with a seductive tone and playfulness about it. Personally, the female vocalist sounds like an escort asking for over the top gifts in exchange for some kind of implied sexual favor once Santa hurries down that chimney.

At any rate, there are some things we can take away from this song…

  1. Men, women want gifts on Christmas. Even when women say, “No, I don’t want gifts, let’s just focus on the kids…” Really. women appreciate the cute, romantic, sentimental or even the occasional extravagant gift. Jot down things your wifey has been talking about in the months leading up to Christmas. Are there any visual cues she has conspicuously laid around the house, like leaving a favorite catalog open, and a particular item circled right by the coffee maker?
  2. Ladies, men like a little seduction. Remember how you used to seduce him in your younger days? Bring that alive again! Making out in the car and then not letting him go any further. Gosh that drove him nuts! You were a mystery to be unraveled. Dressing in sexy lingerie during your newlywed days. How about teasing him a bit? Making out, grinding up on him, slowing things down to making out again, before speeding things up again, finally bringing him orgasm.
  3.  Mr. and Mrs. Santa outfits? Spice up the Christmas love making session a bit. Get some fun seasonal outfits. Ladies, create a little simple sexy dance routine choreographed to Santa Baby, tease your hubby a bit and see where it goes. Your husband probably doesn’t care about your dancing ability (or lack thereof), but rather appreciates the effort you put into switching things up. Write a sexy script about Mrs. Claus exploring to Santa’s “North Pole” and then act it out together. Remember, be creative and have fun together 🙂

Below are a few links to peruse sexy Mr. and Mrs. Claus outfits. Hopefully it helps add spice to your Christmas Eve 🙂

Mrs. Claus:

Leg Avenue Women’s Full Body Coverage Santa Costume

Sexy Mrs. Clause Lingerie with Front Corset Outfit 

Dreamgirl Mrs. Claus Outfit

Mr. Claus:

Santa Boxers

Joe Boxer Boxers with Hat 

The Real Deal Santa Suit 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

“All I’m askin’ (ooh)
Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Baby (just a little bit), when you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)” -Respect by Aretha Franklin

Respect as Google defines it means, “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.”

A lot marriages would probably be saved if individuals let go of past hurts and/or the story they’ve created about their spouse being this “horrible” person, and instead started looking at their spouse through the R-E-S-P-E-C-T lens. Respect was a crucial building block in your marital foundation, after all.

Sometimes when you’ve been married to someone for a long time you can tally up all of their flaws and wrongdoings, and completely ignore or forget to notice all of the things they’ve been doing right. You can also forget why you fell in love with and respected this person to begin with. Please take some time to walk down memory lane… You committed to love this person through all sorts of seasons and trusted that they, too, would love you through all sorts of seasons. That type of commitment hopefully meant you really trusted that person, and that you deeply respected and esteemed them, if you felt them to be capable of fulfilling such a lofty role. The core of who they are probably hasn’t changed. Start looking and taking notice of those admirable qualities again. And remember, no one is perfect all of the time. Practice grace!

Ladies, this is especially important to men, to know that they are respected by their wives. We’re their cheerleaders, and one way we can build them up is by letting them know on a regular basis, that we admire them, we’re proud of their abilities, we genuinely love them for who they are (and not what we want them to be or become), and we’re cheering them on as they achieve both their personal and professional goals.

Men, this goes for you too! If your wife works outside the home, let her know you appreciate her partnership and how she is killing it by helping build up your account. Remind her, you respect her for her professional achievements, and are impressed by her ability to juggle it all. If your wife works inside the home, let her know that you appreciate the years of professional development she’s sacrificed in order to serve and manage on the home front. Remind her you see her working hard at home, and that she’s filling a valuable role to her family, both husband and children. She no longer gets much recognition and is never “promoted” so you have to be that voice to her. The idea behind performance reviews and bonuses may be helpful for incentives to keep her motivated!

TIP:

When you don’t know where to start in changing your mindset, it might be helpful to place a little notepad by your nightstand, and begin write down each night all of the things your spouse did “right” that day. What attributes did they demonstrate, that made you feel proud to call him or her your spouse? After a little while (probably a week or two of this), you might begin to notice that the story you had created about your spouse starts to change, and now your spouse is no longer the villain, but becomes the hero or a kick-ass team mate instead!

Finally, it probably wouldn’t hurt to start vocalizing to him or her, like when you or your spouse gets home, that you R-E-S-P-E-C-T them (and they’ll probably reflect that back to you)!

Our hope is that you begin to like and even enjoy your spouse again :0)

Male and Female Views on Marriage

Speaking generally here, women love the institution of marriage for all that it encompasses: her husband, her children, the nest she and her husband build for their little birdies, the memories made within its walls, etc…  In this post, we will discuss the difference between male and female views on marriage.

Guys, on the other hand, go into marriage for the woman they fell in love with.

Women can get there emotional needs met through their husbands, siblings, mother, and close circle of friends. Realistically, she probably needs all of those relationships to meet that need. Women need to process things through talking it out.

Most men get that emotional need met through their wife and her alone. Guys have their friends for hanging out with and doing fun stuff together, but it’s less emotional in nature. Guys talk less, and can only handle talking about the same things over and over again.

Remember, women love their husbands, but their husbands are just part of what marriage looks like in her eyes. Men love their wives, and they go into marriage for her. So in order for a man to stay interested in his marriage, he needs to stay interested in his wife.

I don’t mean, he needs to stay just physically attracted to her, or he’ll leave. I do mean, he needs to stay connected to her in order to want to be in that marriage. Often times for men, the fastest and most meaningful way for them to feel connected emotionally, is by having sex with their wife. Staying connected to their wives through sex helps them to want to be in their marriages. After all, he went into marriage for her and still desires that connection to her.

Men: help your wives out by setting aside time to connect with her emotionally, by talking about things. Even if it’s the same thing over and over again. Be understanding if she needs to invite her best friend over or call her mom up to talk about the same things she just talked to you about. Remember, your children and home are part of marriage in her mind. Take good care of the other areas of marriage too.

Women: help your husbands out by setting aside time to connect with him through sex on a weekly basis.

You’re a team and you both need each other!

 

Sexual Self Confidence!

Sexual Self Confidence!

Today’s tip

Quick tips on how to keep a guy sexually interested – from a guy’s perspective.  Have some sexual self confidence!

Today’s tip is a little less direct than previous installments, but it continues the theme of encouraging women to take charge of your romance. If there is one thing that I have learned about the majority of women (I don’t like to stereotype, because every person is different) it’s that most women have sexual self confidence issues of some sort. Body confidence issues are especially rampant! Again, this may not be true in your case – still, stick with me here. How this manifests itself in your romantic relationship will be evident from many different symptoms:

  • Only wanting to have sex while the lights are off or very dim – because of being self conscious of how you look.
  • Wanting to wear coverups during sex
  • Thinking about how {fill in the blank} body part looks, rather than being able to fully concentrate on sex
  • Avoiding sex altogether because of sexual self confidence challenges.

I’m not a counselor, but I know there are many deep rooted issues that can be behind these self confidence issues. I understand that. I’m also not verified to help diagnose our test these issues, but I would recommend that if in your or your spouses opinion, these issues are serious enough to need professional help, then seek it out.

Now, as a man though, I would like to encourage you ladies with at least my train of thought and what seems to be the common thinking from other men out there.  We want you to not only be engaged while having sex, but to have some sexual self confidence while doing it!  In other words, know that you turn your man on, be confident in what you want to do while having sex, and go for it knowing that you’re rocking his world!

 

Sometimes a plan helps with sexual self confidence

In public speaking, if you know your material thoroughly, you’re going to come off as confident while speaking.  The same goes for sex.  Think about what you’ve been doing recently during your sexual adventure.  Think about the things that have turned you on the most.  Think about the things that you’re potentially interested in doing but haven’t done yet.  Maybe explore those things and think through how to bring them into the bed fold.  For instance, many women have trouble achieving orgasm during sex.  This is especially common after having a procedure such as a C-section.  Maybe bringing a vibrator into the mix is something that you’d like to approach, but haven’t.  In a future installment, we’ll explore how to introduce a vibrator into your sexual relationship in a healthy way, and bringing newfound adventure into your relationship without damaging feelings.

But the point is:

  1. Think about your sexual relationship
  2. Have a plan on how you would like to grow in your relationship
  3. Have sexual self confidence while leading your relationship in that direction
  4. Enjoy the fruits of your labor

And Men – in all things, be encouraging to your wife, never negative or down-putting.  This extends beyond the bedroom also.  You can destroy years of relationship building in a few negative comments.

Ladies – go forth with sexual self confidence and know that you are attractive, loved, sexy, and wonderful.

Sex: How Often Is Normal?

Sex: How Often Is Normal?

 

When one partner starts wondering how often other couples are having sex, really the underlying concern is probably about having a higher or lower sex drive than their partner. There is no perfect answer or “normal” here. Rather, it’s about talking with your spouse about what each other’s needs are, and how you can both work towards meeting those needs in a way you’re both comfortable and satisfied with.

But let’s talk about averages anyway…

According to Newsweek- Married couples say they have sex 68.5 times a year. That’s slightly more than once a week.

15-20 percent of couples have sex no more than 10 times per year, which experts define as a sexless marriage.-Newsweek. 

Here are some more stats that are somewhat conflicting… 

According to Psychology Today:

-12% had no sex in the last year.

-21% have sex several times a year.

-34% have sex once or twice a month.

-26% have sex once or twice a week. 

-7% have sex 4 or 5 times per week. (This group must be the newlyweds 🙂

At the heart of the matter, you as a couple need to discuss what your needs are and what you can realistically work toward in meeting those needs.

Remember, regular intimacy, whether that be sexual intercourse, oral sex, mutual masturbation, cuddling and caressing, is all part of a healthy and loving relationship. Sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction both have many health benefits. And from a simply physiological perspective, you’ve got to use your muscles to keep them toned and strong, the same goes for those sex organs 🙂

Couples PORNOGRAPHY: How to make it work for your relationship!

Couples PORNOGRAPHY: How to make it work for your relationship!

 

According to Google, pornography is “printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.”

So is it bad for your marriage? I guess my first questions would be why are you looking at it and who’s starring in it?

I would say that if you’re a married man or woman and you’re looking at pornographic material without your spouse present, then my guess is that you probably have some other relationship and intimacy issues that need to be addressed. It might be worth seeing a licensed professional who works with couples and addresses relationship and intimacy issues.

Personally, I believe it’s best for your marriage to keep your sexual fulfillment or love tank filled by your spouse and your spouse alone. Why not make pornographic material together as a couple! This allows your wife to know she’s your only object of desire, and you may have fun being creative together! It’s good to keep your love life alive and this is just one way you could expand your horizons.

Maybe this looks like taking sexy photos. Maybe it’s taking video of sexual performances. Maybe it’s acting out a sexual fantasies like role playing. You may need to start with photos and build up to video as you both feel more comfortable with this activity. It’s not just about the visual here, but also about good communication. You have to discuss and decide as a couple, what you’re both comfortable with and why.

Ladies, you may have some privacy concerns. This concern cannot be taken lightly! If you don’t give your wife control here she may be reluctant to make any pornographic material and understandably so. How can you password protect your material? Is she the only one who knows the password you use to protect your newly created photos and videos? You’ve got to let her know you understand her privacy concerns and together take action to find a solution you’re both comfortable with. Protecting such a valuable part of your love life speaks volumes to her, and if you don’t take this area seriously, you risk losing her trust!

The goal here is change the current idea that all pornography is horrible to how can you use pornography and make it work in your marriage to strengthen that bond and keep your love life exciting. We don’t need to be explicit with ideas, but instead hope this helps facilitate the conversation and provides additional ideas and thinking around the topic of pornography.

Sex Appeal: Keep Him Attracted: Visual Cues

Sex Appeal: Keep Him Attracted: Visual Cues

Quick tips on how to keep your sex appeal – from a guy’s perspective.

Today’s tip: Guys are visually motivated!  We also like it when you tease us and make us want more!  So break out one of your ultimate weapons… underwear!  Yes, underwear!

Put down the granny panties.  I’m talking about the lacy, sheer minimally-covering but still covering enough so that he wants to see more underwear!!  If you’ve been with Hubby Bubby long enough, you probably know by now what his favorite set of underwear is.  So today: choose an opportune time when you know he’s going to take notice (not rushing out the door late for something), pull on his favorite underwear set, make sure you’re feeling attractive yourself (freshly showered, made up, hair done, legs shaved, etc.), and strut your stuff nonchalantly by him.  Pretend to just be going about your business, but make sure your business is right in his line of sight! You’ve got sex appeal – use it!

This is similar to the theme from yesterday in that you’re the one making the advances!  However, the key focus today is to flirt!  Good grief!  Don’t forget how to flirt because you’ve been married too long!  Remember, like how you would flirt back when you were dating, but now you get to really take things to the next level?  Flirting is one of the best ways to keep your marriage garden well-maintained, weeded, trimmed (don’t forget to do that too! 😉 and flourishing!

Pro tip: Don’t be surprised if your visual cue makes him want to take things to the next level.  That’s your decision, but the trick here is to keep up the flirt for just another minute in a positive way!  An obviously playful hand swat with an “oh stop it” but a “tell me more” tone and eye lash batting will just fan the flames!