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28 Jan

10 Ways to Appreciate Your Spouse

appreciate

When was the last time you said that you appreciate your spouse?

I don’t mean things like saying “I love you.” You may be doing that all day, every day, or you may wait for special occasions to utter the L word. ery, in writing for Bustle.com, says it depends. “I looked around into how often couples say the L word, and instead of being all over the map, there were definitely two major camps— people who say it all the time and people who hardly say it all. Neither is wrong, neither is right. But for the people that say it, they really, really say it.” However, saying “I love you” doesn’t necessarily mean “I appreciate you.”

Jeremy Nicholson, a psychologist who writes for Psychology Today, reveals that “Saying ‘I love you’ on a regular basis is not always indicative of relationship status. A better indicator is how the partners actually treat and care for each other. Without loving behaviors backing it up, saying ‘I love you’ is just an empty expression.” And that’s where appreciation comes in.

A study reported in Scientific American’s December 2009 article, “The Happy Couple: Secrets to a Long Marriage,” indicates that gratitude acts like a booster for romantic relationships, and the more often appreciation is expressed, the less likely the couple is apt to break up.

Okay, so I missed National Spouse Appreciation Day.

But how about deciding to make some changes that will let your partner know that not only do you love him (or her), but you appreciate her (or him), too? Here are 10 easy ways to make appreciation something you’ll do because you notice the gift you have in your spouse.

1. Thank your spouse.

Yes, maybe it’s their job to help with household chores. But don’t take their work for granted just because you also do household chores. Appreciate your spouse because they care enough to help you.

2. Express your thanks creatively.

When you tell your spouse “thank you,” after awhile it can lose its meaning. Think of more creative ways to say it, like: “I appreciate it when you…”, “I’m grateful for…”, “It means a lot to me when you…”, etc.

3. Even negative circumstances have positive aspects

When he calls and says, “Honey, I have to work late tonight” do you complain? Show your spouse some appreciation for the positive—he called! And then thank him for his hard work, too.

4. Say thank you for the small things, too

Your spouse doesn’t have to make your life easier by helping you around the house. It’s a choice (or should be). Saying thank you for the things he or she does all the time lets your spouse know that you notice even the small things.

5. Public praise is a great way to appreciate your spouse

Perhaps you say thank you at home, but neglect to make your appreciation known in public. (Or maybe you thank in public but ignore the effort at home!) Saying publicly that you are grateful to your spouse can have a huge impact on your relationship, both publicly and privately.

6. The big things need praise, too

When was the last time you thanked your spouse for being a great dad or mom? Or because they work for an awful boss and still come home in a great mood?

7. Appreciate your spouse for contributing to your success

Whether it’s work, education, parenting, spiritual growth, or work in the community, your husband or wife has impacted your success. Be sure to tell them that achieving your goals is partly their success, too.

8. Say thank you with a gift

Extravagance isn’t necessary. It really is the thought that counts, so flowers or a box of chocolates is a time-honored way to thank your spouse. A dinner date or a gift card to her favorite craft store work, too.

9. Jump the gun when they need help

Don’t wait for your spouse to ask you to do something for him or her. Anticipate the need and offer before they mention it. She could use some time away from the kids, and he could use a nap. Offer to let them do the things that they leave unsaid.

10. Date your spouse

Your spouse needs to know that not only do you love them, but you like them, too. Ask him or her out on a date, even if life seems too busy. Make dating your spouse a priority, and have a real conversation when you go out. Enjoy both dinner and discussion.

Do you have any special way to appreciate your spouse? Share them in the comments!

 

06 Feb

6 Romantic Valentine’s Day Getaways for You and Your Love

valentine-decoration-871297272416YnQTHIS YEAR, why not give an experience as a Valentine’s Day gift? These romantic Valentine’s Day getaways are sure to spark those fires you want to kindle in your love’s heart! I’ve gathered together some little travel itineraries for you so you can book now and enjoy the holiday.

New Orleans (LA)—The “Big Easy,” a romantic destination extraordinaire, with restaurants and tours that will wow you. From formal dining rooms to quaint courtyards, enjoy the signature creole and cajun cuisine, or simply the freshest seafood you can buy. Take a tour on a balmy night and enjoy the slow pace and the uptown jazz. Delight in a horse-drawn carriage ride under French Quarter streetlights or stand on the deck of a riverboat.

Orange Beach (AL)—With miles and miles of white sand and clear water, you’ll want to stay forever. Take a ride out over the ocean and enjoy the beautiful sea life from the safety of a helicopter. “With the doors removed, you have a completely unobstructed view of the emerald green waters of the gulf along with an awesome view of sea life from above,” says Steve Oliver, Orange Beach Helicopters owner. “You are almost guaranteed to see dolphins, sea turtles, rays, even sharks.”

Maui (HI)—Offering a taste of just about everything the Aloha State has to offer, Maui is smaller than the Big Island and larger than Lanai, and offers a wide range of activities for Hawaii visitors. Impressive wildlife and intriguing history and culture await you on the island. Hula dancers, coastal fairways, snorkeling alongside sea turtles, or just lounging on some of Hawaii’s most notable beaches, you’ll find something here for every taste and a large dose of romance as well.

Aspen (CO)—A winter wonderland and famous ski destination, Aspen is snuggled in the great Rocky Mountains of Colorado. As picturesque as a snow globe, you’ll have your choice of four premier ski areas that cater to those  who love the powder no matter what their level of ability. Or spend your time at the high-end shops, the captivating museums, fashionable galleries and entertaining festivals. Whether on the slopes or not, it will be a trip you’ll never forget.

Savannah (GA)—Eccentric Savannah is a wonderful spot for a Valentine’s day getaway. Antebellum history is evident in every corner, and Southern accents share fame with creepy graveyards and Spanish moss. Design students mingle with ghost hunters and preservationists; edgy cafes and restored theaters bump shoulders with Southern-fried restaurants. But at night it’s another story altogether as “The Hostess City of the South” sheds its propriety and shows visitors a good time.

Sedona (AZ)—One of America’s most beautiful places, Sedona is home to a large populace of spiritualists among the spectacular red buttes and canyons where New Age “vortexes” are said to balance the spiritual powers within. Not your cup of tea? No problem, just book a day at one of Sedona’s many spas, or hike one of the over 100 trails it’s famous for. If you don’t want to break a sweat but still want to see the incredible sights, book a spot on a Pink Jeep Tour. You’ll love the view!

Where will you go on your romantic getaway?

06 Mar

Help Kids Deal With Anger

kids and anger

EVER NOTICE that anger is contagious? Just let your two year old throw a temper tantrum in a public place, or listen to your elementary kid tell you she hates you, or witness a melt-down with a teenager, and you’ll find it’s true. You get angry too. Here’s how to help kids deal with anger.

Everyone gets angry. It’s not the sole province of either adults or children. And anger is not always wrong or bad. There are very legitimate reasons for anger.

In infancy, babies cannot communicate their needs. So they cry. And when the need is adequately met, they quit crying. But when the need is not met—possibly because the mother can’t figure out what’s wrong—the crying gets louder until suddenly the infant has balled up fists, a red face, and is breathing so hard she sometimes actually loses her breath. That’s developmental anger. Of course, all you can do is try to figure out what’s wrong. Wet diaper? Hunger? Hot? Cold? Lonely? Thirsty?

In toddlerhood, kids understand many more words than they can use. They still cannot adequately express themselves and this leads to frustration and then to anger. The child not only has trouble expressing herself to adults, but to other kids as well. But other kids are more her own size, so expressing anger may result in injury to another child.

This is the time we start to teach appropriate ways to handle anger. The one constant most people can agree on is that hurting other people or their possessions is not to be tolerated. When I was teaching a nursery school class of two and three year olds, one little girl came to class almost every day angry. She would scream and cry and flail her arms and legs, and woe to anyone in her path. So we set up an area padded with pillows and stuffed toys, and giving her a hug, we laid her down on the pillows. Then we walked away and ignored her. When her anger was spent, she smilingly came and joined the rest of the class—every time. She had learned an appropriate way to handle her anger. At this age, talking about future events is not very productive, because children of two or three have no clear concept of time. (That’s why it doesn’t help to say, “Mommy will be back after work.” The child lives in the now, not the later.)

Elementary aged kids still get mad at other kids for many of the same reasons that toddlers do. Another child took his baseball mitt or cut in line or said something mean. And often the response to that anger may look like a toddler’s reaction. But at this age, kids can start to learn about anger when they are not angry. When you and the child are both calm, that’s the time to talk about what’s okay and what isn’t. Is it okay to go outside and scream? Is it okay to punch a pillow? How about a wall or another person? Talk about how the child may act when he gets angry next time. Set ground rules and stick to them. Consistency is the single most important thing (next to love) that a parent can do to make sure a child grows up into a responsible, caring, compassionate adult.

 Of course, it works in reverse too. If you consistently show anger, yelling when something doesn’t go your way, that’s what your child will learn. As your child approaches adolescence, it is very important to be sure you model proper response to situations where anger could arise. This time is so important because it is the time that your child is testing you as she tries to discover who she is. Should I count to ten when I’m angry? Mom doesn’t. She just yells. She tells me to count, but she doesn’t and that makes me mad! Be sure you are setting a good precedent for your teen to follow.

 It’s important at any age to try and discover the source of anger so that it can be dealt with in a healthy way. Unexpressed anger will show up later, and it may not be expressed as anger. For example, many adults who have never dealt with the source of their anger suffer from ulcers or even heart disease. There is a major difference between expressing anger inappropriately and suppressing it. Deal with anger when it arises. Don’t put it off, or you may hide it from yourself and have much more difficult problems later.

God doesn’t condemn anger. He is often portrayed as angry in the Old Testament. Anger is simply one of the many emotions that reflect the Creator who gave them to us. Temper your anger, and express it quickly and suitably. Then move on.

Proverbs 29:11  “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”

Ephesians 4:26  “In your anger do not sin : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,”

James 1:20  “For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

Here are some books to help you work through anger issues, whether with yourself or with your children. May God bless you on your way!

Hot Stuff to Help Kids Chill Out: The Anger Management Book (Paperback), by Jerry Wilde

When Anger Hurts Your Kids: A Parent’s Guide (Paperback), by Patrick Fanning and  Kim Paleg

Feelings: Frazzled, Frenzied & Frantic,  by Mark Gillespie, Mike Gillespie

The Anger Workbook for Christian Parents, by Les Carter and Frank Minirth