14th February, 2012

Becoming The Right Person

Here’s a great idea …

Professional counselor, Lolly Pisoni, once said in an interview, “Having a healthy marriage is more than finding the right person, it’s becoming the right person.”

In other words …

One of the best things we can do to make our relationships happier and healthier is to become happy and healthy individuals. When we are vibrant and flourishing, we bring more to our relationships. We can increase the amount of positive emotions we feel by finding aspects of our past, present, and future to appreciate and savor.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life …

Remember the good things that have happened in your past and choose to rewrite your negative memories with a positive theme by thinking of the good that came out of them. Stop to savor and appreciate the small things in life such as your partner’s smile, a blooming flower, or the taste of your favorite dessert. Anticipate the possibilities of good things yet to come.

To find out more…

about couple relationships, check out The Marriage Garden program at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. .

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14th February, 2012

The Importance of Service and Sacrifice

Here’s a great idea …

In his book, The Heart of Commitment, Scott Stanley says, “Sacrifice [and service are] the highest expressions of dedicated, loving action because it asks you to show by your actions that you really mean it when you say you are committed.” (p. 193)

In other words …

The old saying “actions speak louder than words” is especially true when it comes to our relationships. Our words of love and commitment mean little if our partners don’t feel they are sincere. Acts of service are one of the best ways we can show our sincerity. By putting our partner’s needs and wants in front of our own, we can show them how much they matter to us.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life …

This week, actively look for ways to serve your partner. Maybe you can do a chore that is normally their responsibility.

To find out more…

about couple relationships, check out The Marriage Garden program at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read Stanley’s The Heart of Commitment.

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14th February, 2012

How Can I Get My Partner to Change?

Here’s a great idea …

In her book, Why Talking is Not Enough, Susan Page says, “Of course, most of us want certain changes in our partners. The way to create these changes is to begin with what is actually the case and to accept it. Change happens when you stop trying to control everything yourself.” (p. 167)

In other words …

Sometimes we think our partners would be better human beings if we could only get them to change in this way or that. We then spend countless hours working on our latest “spousal improvement” projects. Then we are frustrated when things don’t turn out as we had envisioned them. Trying to get our partners to change in order to make us happy rarely ever works. While the need for our partners to change may be genuine, they will probably be unwilling to do so until they know that they are loved and accepted exactly as they are.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life …

Let go of those endless pursuits to change your partner. The only person you can change is yourself. The next time you are tempted to try and change your partner, try instead to change the way you are seeing him or her. Some of the things that bug you about your partner might actually be his or her greatest strengths. Rather than looking for and dwelling on irritations, look for the good in your partner. Your positivity may transform your relationship.

To find out more…

about couple relationships, check out The Marriage Garden program at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read Why Talking is Not Enough.

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13th February, 2012

What Beauty Have You Experienced Today?

Here’s a great idea …

In their publication, The Personal Journey, Wally Goddard and James Marshall say, “In the hike of life, we can focus on the obstacles along the trail or the beauty that surrounds us. Those who find beauty in daily life travel well.”

In other words …

Our lives will always be filled with both blessing and challenges. If we choose to focus on the challenges, it is easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged, but if instead we focus on the blessings and beauty our lives can be filled with joy and optimism.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life …

What beauty or good can you find in your life? What do you have to be grateful for? Try writing down one or two things for which you are grateful each day. The more you look for the good in your life, the more happiness you will find.

To find out more …

about personal well-being, check out The Personal Journey or Managing Stress programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife contact your local county Extension agent.

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11th February, 2012

Don’t Discount Your Children’s Feelings

Here’s a great idea …

In his book, Between Parent and Child, Haim Ginott says, “Most discipline problems consist of two parts: angry feelings and angry acts. Each part has to be handled differently. Feelings have to be identified and processed; acts may have to be limited and directed.” (p. 118)

In other words …

Sometimes as parents we try to put restrictions on what our children feel. All children are bound to feel frustrated and angry from time to time. We should not try to discount or squash these feelings. Instead, we should try to help our children find appropriate ways to deal with and express these feelings. In some cases, simply talking through what they are feeling may be enough. Other times we may need to help them find appropriate ways to act out their feelings, such as drawing a picture or running around the house.

How you can use this idea to have a better life …

The next time your child is upset, talk with them and help them process and identify their emotions. Then work with your child to come up with acceptable ways to release their emotional energy.

To find out more …

about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey or See the World Through My Eyes programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read Between Parent and Child.

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11th February, 2012

Guide Children By Listening to Them

Here’s a great idea …

In his book, The Whole Child, Seamus Carey says, “The emotions and feelings that children experience are often far more complex than their ability to articulate them. They often get frustrated trying to express their emotions and feelings, because words often fail to convey the depth of emotional experience. Parents effectively guide children beyond their frustration by listening for at least one idea that can help the child to articulate clearly.” (p. 72)

In other words …

Children sometimes have difficulty dealing with their emotions, especially when they feel that they are not being heard or understood by those around them. As parents, we can help our children the most by inviting them to share and talk openly with us about their feelings. We can help them build an emotional vocabulary and be better equipped to deal with their feelings.

How you can use this idea to have a better life …

The next time your child is trying to express an emotion take time to listen to what they have to say. Help them elaborate on their feelings and teach them new words to describe what they feel. The more you talk with your child about what they are feeling, the more understood they will feel and the more comfortable they will be sharing their emotions with you in the future.

To find out more …

about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey or See the World Through My Eyes programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read Carey’s The Whole Child.

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10th February, 2012

Seek First to Understand

Here’s a great idea …

In their book, Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage, John and Julie Gottman say, “Understanding must come before advice. In other words, it’s better to let your partner get all his or her feelings out and for you to try to understand those feelings, before you begin problem solving or exploring what to do.” (p. 216)

In other words …

When our partners are explaining a situation and how it makes them feel, we should not jump to conclusions or offer advice before we have the whole story. If we do, our partners will feel more frustrated and resentful than helped and cared for. Sometimes all our partners need is a sympathetic ear.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life …

The next time your partner is sharing their feelings with you about an issue, take time to listen to everything they have to say. Ask clarifying questions. Check with your partner to see if you understood them correctly. When you understand your partner’s feelings, then you can decide together if the situation needs solving.

To find out more…

about couple relationships, check out The Marriage Garden program at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage.

Posted at 9:49 pm | Comment (0)

10th February, 2012

Forgiveness Leads to Freedom

Here’s a great idea …

In their book, What Happy People Know, Dan Baker and Cameron Stauth say, “Forgiveness doesn’t alter what has happened. The memory remains; the hurt is unchanged. But forgiveness grants us new eyes, through the grace of love, that see the hurt in a different way.” (p. 106)

In other words …

Sometimes when someone has hurt us, we will hang on to the hate and anger. We refuse to forgive because we think that by so doing we are excusing what the person has done. That is a mistake. Forgiveness is less about the other person and more about releasing ourselves from the feelings that hold us hostage. Forgiveness allows us to move on with our lives.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life …

Are there people you need to forgive? Do you have any anger or resentment tucked away? Choose to forgive and set yourself free to live a happier, fuller life.

To find out more …

about personal well-being, check out The Personal Journey or Managing Stress programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife contact your local county Extension agent. You may also enjoy reading What Happy People Know.

Posted at 4:47 pm | Comment (1)

9th February, 2012

Giving Children Choices Cultivates Independence

Here’s a great idea …

In his book, Between Parent and Child, Haim Ginott says, “Give children a choice and a voice in matters that affect their lives. Children are dependent on their parents, and dependency breeds hostility. To reduce enmity, a parent provides children with opportunities to experience independence. The more autonomy, the less enmity, the more self-dependence, the less resentment of the parent.” (p. 202)

In other words …

If we want our children to grow up to be good decision makers, then we need to give them practice making decisions. We can give them a sense of control by giving them a choice between options that we approve of. We might let them choose whether they would like jam or honey on their toast, whether they’d like to wear the blue shirt or the red one, or which book they would like to read at bedtime.

How you can use this idea to have a better life …

Find ways to give your child some control over his or her life. The more you allow your child to make their own decisions, the more they will realize that their opinion matters and the more they will respect you.

To find out more …

about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey or See the World Through My Eyes programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read Ginott’s Between Parent and Child.

Posted at 9:46 pm | Comment (0)

9th February, 2012

Keys to Vibrant Relationships Are Common Sense but not Common Practice

Here’s a great idea …

In their book, The Marriage Garden, H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall say, “When we are vibrant people, we bring far more to our relationships than when we are languishing. The keys to being vibrant are common sense even if they are not common practice. We enjoy and appreciate the simple things in life. We cherish the best of our experiences. We look forward to the future. We use our strengths regularly. And we find ways to serve.” (p. 168)

In other words …

It’s difficult for us to have healthy, positive relationships when we are not emotionally healthy as individuals. When we better ourselves we are able to bring more to our relationships.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life …

Spend some time increasing your emotional health this week by expressing gratitude for what you have, being hopeful about the future, and using your strengths and gifts to serve others. This should give your relationship with your partner a boost.

To find out more…

about couple relationships, check out The Marriage Garden program at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent.

Posted at 4:10 pm | Comment (1)