Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

WIll You Take The Date Night Challenge?

posted by Linda Mintle

This week, the city of Chicago is revving up for the Date Night Challenge, a not-for-profit venture involving businesses, churches and individuals that is designed to strengthen relationships. The goal is to have couples go on 5 million dates in the next two years. Organizations and business are partnering to provide date nights for couples. There is a mobile app and a website filled with quizzes, date ideas and conversation to help you meet the challenge.

Other cities like West Palm Beach, Florida are doing the same.

The idea–get out there people and have some fun dating and strengthen your relationship! Take time out of your busy schedule to spend with someone you love.

Will you take the challenge? Here’s why you should.

1) In informal surveys, couples were asked what would improve their marriages. 62% said they needed to spend more time together. Scheduling a date night does just that–allows for time together away from the kids and the office.

2) Years ago, marital researchers, Gottman & Silver (1999) found that couples who spent 5 hours a week together maintained successful relationships. Imagine if two of those hours happened during a date night!

3) On one of the Date Night Challenge websites I read that 90% of date nighters claimed their relationship satisfaction improved.

4) Gottman’s research tells us that couples have to promote a steady flow of positive interactions in their relationships in order to build an emotional bank account that can be used when needed. Date nights can be a way to build the positive and fill up the emotional bank account.

5) Gottman’s research also notes that the foundation of a sound relationship is marital friendship. Friends spend time together, know the inner world of their partners, express fondness and admiration for each other and turn towards each other emotionally–dates can be a part of building this friendship. And when the marital friendship is strong, this creates positive feeling about your partner. Positive feelings go a long way to buffer the negatives of a relationship.

6)  Orthner (1975) found that couples who engaged in either parallel or joint activities did tend to have more positive marriages.  In contrast, couples who engaged in independent leisure activities tended to report worse marital functioning.

So, I dare you, take the challenge and see for yourself.

And make sure you read tomorrow’s post on 5 Ways to Make Date Night Work. 

The date night is a great idea, but what you do on that date matters when it comes to keeping love alive.

 

 

 

Family Over Politics: A Reminder of What is Important

posted by Linda Mintle

I met Rick Santorum a year ago when he was considering a run for the Presidency. We were both waiting on a meeting in DC. After my introduction, he took a phone call for a radio interview. I listened and was impressed by how family-oriented the man seemed to be. This weekend, my admiration for his family values increased. I’m not endorsing or making political commentary here. Just observing a man who seems to understand the importance of family.

Most of you saw or read the news. Santorum left the campaign trail this past weekend to join his ill 3-year-old daughter at the hospital. Young Bella has a genetic disorder making her susceptible to infection and was being treated for pneumonia at Children’s hospital in Philadelphia.

The simple point here is that this man made a decision to be with his daughter over politics. His example is a powerful reminder of what is important. If she had not pulled through, he would have regrets had he made a different decision.  Whenever there is a serious family illness, choose to be there if you can. No one ever regrets being with a sick family member. People do regret not doing this. And when someone dies, that regret cannot be undone.

So let’s use this example as a reminder of what is important. Family comes first, especially in matter of sickness. No job is too important to ignore the people you love when they need you.

Is there someone you need to see?

Someone you need to resolve issues with in your family. Don’t wait. Do it now.

Thanks Rick for the reminder. Prayers for that cutie pie!

One Sure Way to Sink Your Relationship

posted by Linda Mintle

You see it in sit coms. The “I don’t have a clue” husband whose wife is constantly telling him what to do or reminding him what he seems to be not doing. While we may laugh at this comedy routine, there is nothing funny about it in real couple relationships.

Nagging is a relationship killer. Nagging works this way. You make a request, the request is ignored and you make it again. But the more you badger the person to do what you want, the more he or she withdraws. Repeated asking doesn’t work. It usually ends in more distance between a couple. Yet many couples are locked into this pattern.

What Dr. Markman at the University of Denver’s center for Marital and Families studies found was that when couples start fighting about the nagging and not the issues that created it, couples are in danger of divorce. Nagging is part of an overall negative communication pattern.

So if you find yourself nagging and the other person ignores you, stop the pattern. It leads to lost love. Listen to the tone of your voice. Check your body language. Begin a request with a softened tone.

Figure out what is behind the nagging:

Are you afraid you won’t get what you want from your partner?

Are you overloaded with too much to do?

Are you overly obsessive about things getting done immediately?

Are you expecting your partner to think and be like you?

Are you Type A living with Type B?

Understanding what prompts you to nag, may help you take a different approach. You and your partner can talk about these issues. Then look at whether or not the nagging actually works? If not, it is probably setting up a negative cycle of communication that leads to resentment and pulling away.

February: The Month of Love or Divorce?

posted by Linda Mintle

 

I was surprised to read that divorce attorneys report that January and February (just before Valentine’s Day) are the busiest time of year for divorce.

Think about it. Couples try to make it work over the holidays and hope that all the hoopla and family time will reignite an ember burning marriage. Apparently, not so much!

Connecticut therapist, Donna Ferber, reported in a Psychology Today article that she believes this is because January represents a new start to the year and parents who are thinking divorce do not want to drop that bomb on their children during the holidays. Possibly. Or maybe parents do not want to upset summer vacations, holidays and events. Maybe because kids are in school in Jan/Feb, day care isn’t such an issue. Maybe all that family time over the holidays leads to disappointment and a reality check of the work that needs to be on the relationship. Furthermore, January seems like a long month to endure given the winter and the one day holiday. So maybe unhappy couples feel the exhaustion of the holidays and have trouble gearing up for the new year. Whatever the case, the month of love is also the month of love lost. And that is sad.

Remember that lost love can be found. That the path to divorce is known and can be fixed.

It is my hope that you will use your energy in January and February to get into marital therapy and stay out of the divorce lawyer’s office.

P.S. Today is my parents’ anniversary. My mom died last year but mom and dad were married for 67 years.

Thinking divorce? First read my book on divorce proofing your marriage.

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