Beliefnet
Stronger Marriages

Pixabay.com

Pixabay.com

Despite there being a small army of dating websites and apps, finding a happily ever after is not easy these days. In fact, more than half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34, prime dating age, do not have a romantic partner according to the General Social Survey. This is a record high.

There are a number of theories about why dating seems to have died among young people. One of the first culprits looked at is usually the smartphone. Dating apps on smartphones make it so that there seem to be an infinite number of choices for potential dates. As such, if the current date does not inspire rainbows, butterflies and visions of wedding bells within the first 10 minutes of a date, people are already deciding which of their matches is going to be their next date. This mentality, however, fails completely to take into account the fact that first dates are awkward. First dates involve spending one on one time in a relatively small space with a complete stranger. Few people are going to be perfectly smooth in that situation. Those that are immediately suave should actually be looked at with more suspicion than the person who fumbles a bit while trying to fill an awkward silence.

In addition to creating the illusion of an infinite number of dates just sitting around waiting for the person to choose them, smartphones and their assorted apps have done enormous damage to the ability of young people to communicate face to face with each other. People are used to dealing with social media soundbites and clever one liners that may have taken an hour to craft. They are also used to multitasking and being able to immediately leave a conversation. On social media, a person can take as long as they want to come up with the perfect wording to someone’s comment. If the conversation gets awkward, they simply do not respond. When they are done talking, they can just walk away. None of these things happen in real encounters with actual people. People look askance when someone takes longer than a few seconds to respond to their question, and there is no backspace key that lets someone modify their response to sound more intelligent or witty. On a date, people also cannot simply stop talking or walk away. Well, they can, but they are certainly not getting a second date. This means, however, that many young adults have no idea how to revive a conversation following the inevitable long pauses that come during a first date.

The growth of singlehood is not necessarily a bad thing in its own right. Plenty of young adults are not looking for a serious relationship and are perfectly happy being single. The lack of dating among those who are looking for love, however, does suggest that all the dating apps in the world will not help someone who cannot interact with another human being without the filter of a screen and keyboard in the way.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

“Homewrecker.” “Man-stealer.” “Skank.” We have heard them all before. A man cheats on his wife or girlfriend, and it is somehow the other woman’s fault. Witness how fans of celebrity news have been in a meltdown over whether Jordyn Woods is responsible for “stealing” Tristan Thompson from Khloe Kardashian or the media circus surrounding the Jennifer-Brad-Angelina debacle.

When it comes to dealing with a cheater, women and men tend to react differently. Women generally see the other woman as the one responsible for the mess. Kardashian certainly blames Woods and has publically claimed Woods is the reason Kardashian’s family has fallen apart. Men, however, tend to put the blame on their cheating girlfriend or wife.

The blame for cheating belongs on a cheater. A disloyal spouse is not a wallet or credit card that can be stolen away by some ne’er-do-well. It takes two to tango, regardless of whether that tango is vertical or horizontal. Blaming the cheater, however, is hard for many people to do. It requires recognizing and admitting that someone they love has betrayed them. Blaming the other woman allows a person to hate a stranger while protecting both their own feelings and the person they love.

Optimism can be a terrible thing when dealing with a cheater. Cheaters are unlikely to change their lying ways, but those they have betrayed often remain hopeful about salvaging the relationship. Blaming the other woman allows that optimism to remain and flourish. After all, it was not really the cheater’s fault. There is nothing wrong with him, so the relationship can be repaired.

Blaming the other woman is also a natural reaction to the insecurity caused by such an enormous and intimate betrayal like cheating. When someone cheats, people almost immediately wonder if there was something wrong with them that drove their partner away. Are they simply not interesting enough to hold their partner’s interest? Are they not attractive enough? Blaming the other woman allows the person who was cheated on to believe that there was nothing about themselves that was lacking. Instead, their man was simply ensnared by that doe-eyed snake. This also gives people a clear villain. Everyone forms a story about their lives in their heads. Emotional landmines like cheating are much easier to handle with a simple story such as an evil seductress stealing away a good man. In reality, the other woman may have had no idea that she was dating a scumbag who was double timing both his girlfriend and his wife.

No one can deny that people have a right to be angry at a cheating man, and any woman who was knowingly a mistress has a lot to answer to as well. It takes two to tango, however, and most women are not seeking out men who are already taken. So, stop putting the blame on the other woman, and put it on the man who chose to cheat. Maybe knowing they will no longer get away with it will make a few potential cheaters think twice.

Pixabay.com

Pixabay.com

Valentine’s Day is often seen as the ultimate holiday for couples. After all, the holiday is all about romance, passion, love and all those things that are associated with happy relationships. All the hype around Valentine’s Day, however, can put a lot of pressure on you and your significant other to get it right the first time you spend Valentine’s Day as a couple. It can get to the point that some couples are desperate to simply get past February so they can relax and actually enjoy their relationship rather than panicking over whether or not they got reservations at the right restaurant for maximum romantic effect. This is unfortunate since holidays should be fun. With that in mind, here are some ways to nail your first Valentine’s Day together.

Pick a gift that’s them.

The classic Valentine’s Day gifts are chocolate, flowers and jewelry. If your partner is not into those things, though, get them something they will enjoy. If your girlfriend is an archery nut, buy her some new arrows or a gift card to the local shooting range. If your gal is crazy about health food, give her a fruit basket instead of a basket of chocolates. Also, don’t be afraid to get your man something. Valentine’s Day gifts are typically envisioned as being from the man to the woman, but there is no reason women can’t show their appreciation, too.

Choose your own level of romance.

Some people don’t like Valentine’s Day because they find it too romantic. To them, Valentine’s Day is all about staring deeply into your partner’s eyes while giving flowery descriptions of your love that seem to come straight out of a Victorian bodice ripper. This is not everyone’s scene. Some people prefer a more lighthearted evening. So, pick something that can be as cheesy, passionate, silly or deeply meaningful as you want. Go to a cheesy romance instead of a movie filled with passion so you can either be touched by the romance or snicker at the terrible script. Bake a cake instead of going out to dinner so you can throw flour on each other or share candlelight kisses.

Avoid the couples’ restaurant.

Every town has a restaurant or two that are the romantic establishments in town. On Valentine’s Day, stay well away from those. They may have great food and great atmosphere, but on Heart Day, you are going to be sharing the restaurant with every other couple in town. Head somewhere else meaningful to you instead of waiting for an hour to get a table and then being unable to hear each other talk all night anyway.

Most of all on Valentine’s Day, do what makes you and your partner happy. If neither of you are big into chocolates and flowers, why bother buying them? If you don’t like to go out, throw on a movie. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be all about love, but everyone’s love is different. So, forget about the stereotypes and what you are “supposed” to do, and instead do what truly makes you and your partner happy.

couple sunsetIt is my longing that makes me love you intensely,
For I yearn to be loved from the heart.

It is my eternity that makes me love you long,
For I have no end.

– Mechtild of Magdeburg,
German mystic of the Beguines, 1282

Love is mystical in the sense that science is not yet able to quantify it. But science does agree that how we view reality is held within our brain.

We don’t really know what real love is until we experience it clearly. Many times we fall in love and then wonder, “Was that really love, or was that love false?” We get baffled by love, we get betrayed by love, we get let down by love, and then our human story of loss unfolds and disappointment becomes our belief of love.

Clarity of Love Is the Resurrection in the Faith of Love

We are now on the precipice of a great change, a great momentum in the history of humanity- The Age of Surprise. We’re seeing globally what the lie of love looks like, what false promises look like, what false judgment looks like. We are seeing the lie in front of us so we can learn how not to lie. The essence of true love cannot lie.

We Are Here to Love

We were born to flourish in the potential of our birthright, love. Love is the dream you cried out as you birthed from your mother’s womb screaming, “I am here, I am here, I have arrived!” We spend the rest of our lives trying to find our true voice, the clarity of love, again.

There Are Many Kinds of Love

There is the great love of the Divine Presence, the bliss, the Oneness of All. That love actually transcends our human experience. It is the state wherein the one are many and the many are one. The experience of the oneness of being is the blissful experience of communion with a Greater Reality and is the most wonderful and fulfilling kind of love.

It is still not enough, though, because we are human. Even experiencing that incredible place of oneness that the Yogis speak of, we are still left with a longing for the human experience of love, the closeness of a companion, the warmth of a community. Having experienced the transcendental state of love many times, I’ve come to believe that to truly transform as humans, to be truly enlightened, we must experience both of these types of love- the divine love and the human love. To deny oneself of one or the other is like eating a piece of cake while taking off all the frosting; you don’t really get to enjoy the pleasure of the full cake.

The idea that human love is not as holy as divine love has led us to believe that we are not capable of loving each other with the complete capacity with which we can love the Father God or the Mother Divine. But if we are in fact divine beings, if we are in fact made in the image of God, then as we love one another in our humanness, this love is also capable of being a divine love, because we are divine beings, created from divine light in a divinely human form.

Love Is the Myriad of Experience

Love is like a diamond of rainbow colors. Each facet is beautiful. Sometimes you can step back and see the entire diamond and say, “Oh yes, there are many beautiful facets.” Then, sometimes you’re inside the diamond; you’re inside one facet or another. These are the different aspects and experiences of love. Each experience is important. Each facet as part of the whole creates the diamond’s brilliance. Love is like that.

Love Is Clarity of Consciousness

Clarity of consciousness is like clear water. It’s a superconductor. It is a carrier of frequency, and love is a frequency.

Love Is Intimacy

At its core, human love is about becoming truly intimate with another and understanding the other person. When you love someone, you desire to love them the way they want to be loved. There is a learning curve to this. But you want to put in the time and the effort because, well, you love the other person.

Love Requires Maturity

It takes a mature person to see, know, feel and sustain true love. Love requires contemplation and reflection. Was I my most loving self today? How can I love better?

Love Requires Wisdom

Without wisdom, love breaks. Unlike the diamond, love is fragile, even the divine love. Without constant practice, communion with the divine slips away like a glove in the night.

Wisdom keeps the enemy of love, the ego mind, at bay, ensuring your love is sustained and nurtured to grow and grow.

To have a fulfilling experience here in this human world we require both kinds of love: the divine communion and the human communion. It is that simple. Yet, it is that complex. We are the complicated diamond of 8 billion facets attempting to love the best we know how. And that is where “the one are many and the many are one” gets complicated.

Clarity of love is the love divine that drives us on our journey to become more than we ever thought we could be. Love.

Human love, the touch of the senses, the support of one to another – this ultimately is the love that will heal our world. To experience divine love is to know how to give human love. And this is how we create love.

Guest post by Deirdre Hade. Deirdre is a mystic, artist and visionary elucidating the spiritual world. Learn more at www.deirdrehade.com.

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Do you find yourself being stressed out with your current and past relationships?

Do you wonder if you are with the right person in terms of your current relationships?

It can be very difficult to be in a happy relationship nowadays. It is not uncommon to hear that your friends or coworkers just got a divorce or they broke up with their partner. It is also difficult to find someone that you enjoy being with and having them like you as well. In addition, many people are single parents which can also complicate your relationships. As a result, many people are left wondering what they should do in making sure they end up in a stress-free relationship.

To help relieve some of your relationship concerns, here are 8 tips on how a person can manage the stresses and anxieties of being in a relationship.

Get into a relationship for the right reasons.

Some people get into a relationship so they do not have to be alone which can be a big mistake. Getting into a relationship with someone for the sake of not being alone can cause problems down the road. A person should get into a relationship for the right reasons. It is important that you do not rush things and not to be quick into making important decisions that could have long term consequences. If you feel that things are going too fast, then tell your partner that you want to slow things down. Do not be pressured into doing something that you do not feel comfortable with.

Learn from your mistakes in your past relationships.

It takes practice and a lot of effort to maintain a successful relationship. Try to learn from your past relationships to see what you did right what you did wrong. You do not want to get into another relationship and repeat the same mistakes you made the last time. If you still feel that you need some help, then try talking with your friends and peers to see what they have to say regarding your past relationships.

Talk with your partner on a regular basis.

Communication with one another will help prevent some misunderstandings in a relationship. When a problem does come up, discuss your feelings with the other person. Most importantly, do not assume that the other person knows how you feel. Many relationships end because the other person thought that things were going well when in fact the other person was upset. Talking to your partner about your feelings will help maintain a long lasting relationship.

Be a team player and learn to work with the other person.

Being in a relationship is like being on a team. Each member must do his or her own part. One person cannot do everything. Work with your partner in having a happy relationship. If you find yourself doing all of the work, then talk to your partner about your concerns. It takes two people to have a successful and happy relationship. One person can not do the work of two people in any relationship.

Do focus on your point of view.

Always try to see things from the other person’s perspective when your in a relationship. This will help you to see where the other person is coming from which will reduce arguments and conflicts. You will eventually get into a few arguments during the course of your relationships and the key is to listen to your partner and not assume that you are the one who has all the answers. It is also a good idea to watch what you say if you get angry.

Think before you make the important decisions in a relationship.

Many people nowadays seem to be quick into being in a long term relationship. Regardless of what you decide to do, is important that you do not rush your relationships. A person should think carefully on what they want in a relationship and they should be willing to take the time to get to their partner before you get married. Many people rush into marriage and then find themselves unhappy 6 months into the marriage. Do not be in a hurry in making one of the most important decisions in your life. Take your time and get to know one another before rushing into something that is more serious.

Do not let others pressure you into getting married.

Remember that being a relationship with someone doesn’t mean that you have to marry the person. There are all kinds of relationships. There are friendships, dating relationships, more serious relationships, and others. Find the type of relationships that make you feel comfortable and go from there. If your family and friends pressure you into getting married, then politely tell them that it is not their concern and tell them to stop their pestering. Remember that you got to do what is best for you and your partner.

Get relationship advice.

If you still have trouble in dealing with the stress and anxieties of a relationship, then talk to a counselor. A counselor can provide much helpful advice on how to handle your stressful relationships. A counselor can also work with you and your partner to help resolve any potential conflicts that is threatening your relationship. Learning the techniques of being in a successful and satisfying relationship with your partner can really help you in the long run. Remember it takes a lot of work to maintain a good relationship with someone you enjoy being with.

Make the best of your situation whether you are alone or in a relationship. If you are happy in your current relationship then take of advantage of that. If you are alone, make the best with your situation. The key is to be happy whether you are by yourself or your with someone else. Being content with your current situation will help prevent you from making hasty decisions that could cause problems down the road. In addition, do not be in a rush to get into a relationship because you could end up with someone who is not right for you. Just be yourself and live your life to the fullest. The rest will take care of itself.

Stanley Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear” – an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For some more information and free mental health advice go to Stan’s website at www.managingfear.com.