Seven Ways to Have a Happy Husband

Ever wondered if there are any ways to tell if your husband is a happily married man?

While every relationship goes through its seasons, here are some proven indicators that your man is happy in your relationship.

1. He knows that he can be himself without being judged or criticized. You see, there is nothing that can kill a relationship faster than criticism.

2. He feels that you notice him and appreciate all that he does for you and that you do not take him for granted.

3. He realizes that you love and accept him for who he is, but he also knows that you will not put up with any bad behavior. He knows that your love is the “real deal” and respects it because he sees that it is not based on submissive compliance, but a loving choice.

4. He likes that you care about looking attractive in your own personal way. He doesn’t expect you to look like someone you aren’t, but seeing that you care about your appearance makes him feel you value yourself and your relationship with him.

5. He sees that you desire him and express it through physical intimacy. Every man wants a wife who loves physical intimacy. What do most wives want? A man who provides the intimacy that her soul longs for. You see men only need a place, but a woman needs a reason.

6. He feels respected and admired by you. There is no love outside of respect. Feeling the admiration and respect of the one you love boosts self-esteem, increases intimacy, and promotes communication and passion.

7. He sees that you do not hold on to grudges, keep score or consistently feel victimized by life. The helps your relationship develop flexibility and adaptability, and keeps the possibility of a rewarding future intact.

Action Plan:

Take a moment to reflect on your feelings about these seven indicators. Are you happy with where you are? If so, outstanding! If you feel you need a little work, then pick one or two and try them out as a pilot project with your honey. After all, it is a budget-friendly, powerful tool that you can use to enhance your marriage!

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!

 

Shades of Grey or Shades of Love – Be A Better Lover. 

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(c) 2015 John Thurman
Shades of Grey or Shades of Love: How to be a Better Lover

John Thurman M.Div., M.A., LPCC

It is sometimes tough to love someone else. It is even pretty difficult to love your family. One middle-aged married man told his wife that if she loved him, she would have married someone else.

In the past several articles, we have taken a very brief overview of the nature of intimacy. In this closing posts, I wanted to give you some hints on how to love others.

Listen. It is impossible to be a better lover unless you listen. Many of the issues couples face stem from not listening. A young couple was meeting for dinner on the patio of a local restaurant after a crazy day at work. As they were settling into their chairs, he was tweeting, and she was on Facebook. In the midst of their multitasking she said, I’m so proud of you.” He responded, without missing a beat, “I’m tired of you, too.” Multitasking may be something good in the workplace, but not so hot if you are building a relationship. Listen to your partner as you would have them listen to you.

Overlook. Most of the things that can annoy us can be ignored. Our tendency is to retaliate. A friend of mine told me that his neighbor called him one morning at 3:00 a.m. to tell him that his dog was barking. He went on to say he called his neighbor back the next morning at 3:00 a.m. to tell him he didn’t own a dog.

If the person you are in a relationship with does something that annoys you overlook it. It takes a lot less energy.

Value. To value, people means to acknowledge their real worth as humans and a as unique individuals. An older pastor friend of mine who performs several weddings a year, recently told me about how he answers the question many young grooms ask. “Pastor, how much do I owe you for performing the ceremony? My friend just smiles and says, “Just pay me what you think she is worth.” Needless to say, he had a good income stream from weddings.

Encourage. You and I will never completely understand human behavior when you go to Cliff’s Amusement Park with your child, and you put them on the merry-go-round and try to get a cold drink. Every time you try to leave they call out your name, and you have to stay and watch, Why? Because we all have the need to be encouraged and appreciated as individuals.

These are the essential components of being a better lover. Listen, Overlook, Value, and Encourage. Do it every day, and you will demonstrate love to your partner, children, co-workers and others.

I hope the Shades of Love series has been helpful. 

Next series: Get a Grip on Stress, Anxiety and Worry.  Question? Did you know that Stress, Anxiety and Worry are the leading behavioral health issues in America. In the next several posts I will show you proven principles that will help you push back on stress, anxiety and worry.

Shades of Grey-Shades of Love: Part 4, Cultivating Romance

Shades of Love 4: Lovers Cultivate Romance

By John Thurman

Sex Begins in the Kitchen is a fun and informative book that my friend Dr Kevin Leman wrote several years ago. His second book on marital intimacy is called Sheet Music. Both of which are still in print. I encourage couples to add these books to their reading list. Kevin has an uncanny ability to communicate in a clear and fun way about very important things. Years ago he and I shared the microphone on a national radio show called Parent Talk. It seemed that whenever he and I were on the show the topic of sexuality came up.

I mention that because physical intimacy consistently stays in the “Top 5,” concerns os marital conflict.

As you and I continue to move through Shades of Love, I want to give you some tips that will improve of physical intimacy. “Quantity” is the most frequent complaint that counselors hear. Unfortunately, couples often define their physical relationship in terms of “the count.” How often do we have it? How many times did one or the other reach orgasm? How much foreplay was there? How long did it last?”

It’s sad that we haven take the beauty of lovemaking and reduced it to numbers. Some couples make it worse by attempting to negotiate the numbers, comparing their numbers with the”average couple,” whatever that is, or agreeing to trade physical intimacy for help with cleaning the dishes.

Here are some proven tips to improve your intimacy:

1.    Add variety to your lovemaking. Some of us are too restrictive. Change the locations, times of day, or the lighting. Try some candles, new perfumes, or aftershaves. Put on some different music.

2.    Vary your routine. I did a Google™ search on, “how many ways you can cook a potato” and the search came up with thirteen different ways. Amazing! If you can cook a potato that many different ways, you can be equally creative in finding ways ways to share physical intimacy with your partner. A nice full body massages, is nice. And don’t forget the shower.

3.    Communicate more openly. Don’t let intimacy become a guessing game. Two physically different individuals with unique personalities, life histories, backgrounds, preferences, and hangs ups must learn to talk openly about intimacy. Be careful about making assumptions. It is fine to have these conversation, because communication will directly impact physical intimacy.

4.    Increase the desire for physical intimacy. One of the easiest ways to enhance your passion towards your partner is to let your mind wander over pleasurable thoughts about them throughout the day.

Three tips for guys:

•Sex must become something you give to your wife and not something you take.

•You will improve your physical intimacy dramatically if you learn to first give to   your wife emotionally.

•Increase your nonsexual touching. This means hugs, holding hands,

Have fun and be safe as you discover new ways to Cultivate Romance.

Shades of Grey Shades of Love – Five Types of Intimacy

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(c) 2015 John Thurman Jenny & Hugh
Shades of Love # 3

By John Thurman

What is intimacy? One definition of intimacy is that it is an act or a familiar expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection, and love.

I believe as a culture we have lost some of the important components of intimacy by limiting it to just a physical response.

 There has been some breakthrough research that shows which there are at least five different zones of intimacy! Take a moment and grade yourself in each zone, then ask you partner to do the same.

The first is intellectual intimacy. On this level, couples can talk about current events, share ideas and thoughts, even debate political and religious topics. They can jointly participate in the exchange of thoughts and ideas.

The second zone of intimacy is recreational intimacy. This means that there are some leisure activities that a couple enjoys together. It does not mean that they do everything together.

The third zone of intimacy is social intimacy. After decades of marriage, my wife and I realized that its completely okay for her to have her friends and me to have my friends as long as we share some “we” friends. Couple friendships can be a bonus to a relationship by being a sounding board, providing feedback and accountability.

Spiritual intimacy is the fourth level of growing deeper together as a couple. While this zone of intimacy is the most subjective, due to the various religious backgrounds & practices a couple may have, it is still a very important component. In my opinion, one of the most important because a growing relationship is at its core spiritual in nature. Spiritual intimacy is also an important factor when and if children become a part of the family.

The fifth and final level of intimacy is physical intimacy.  Sexual expression is part of our hard wiring and can be both exhilarating and invigorating for a couple, in the right context. In recent years, the primary focus has been primarily on physical intimacy. We have reduced physical intimacy into a series of positions and practices based more on applied physics than on building relationships.

Could it be that one of the reasons we see so many relationships falling apart is that we have failed to understand that intimacy works on several levels? If a relationship is based primarily on sexual expression, it is doomed to fail, in the long run. However, if a couple can grow in their understanding of these different levels of intimacy, their relationship will experience growth in all areas. As you grow in these other areas, then sexual expression within your relationship will become more intense and meaningful. This is because it is based on getting to know your partner and being known by them.

So how can you have a better sex life? Be mindful of the five levels of intimacy and how interconnected they are.

I’d love to hear your opinion.

Shades of Grey – Shades of Love Part 2

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(C) 2012 John Thurman
Shades of Grey-Shades of Love Part 2

John Thurman

 

“It is a luxury to be understood.”      Ralph Waldo Emerson

Building a relationship and being married is a team sport; you either win together or lose together.

One of the keys to developing intimacy is communication. Two-way communication that is based on respect, honor, and grace is essential for two people sharing a life together.

Drs. David Olson and Peter Larson have invested their careers studying relationships. They have identified 10 Communication Skills that will enhance your intimacy.

1.     Give full attention to your partner when talking.  My wife gets very annoyed when I think I am listening, but am distracted. My suggestion turns off the phone, Ipad™, computer, or television and turn towards your partner.

2.     Focus on the good qualities and be intentional about catching them doing good.  People tend to rise or fall to our expectations, when you are intentional about finding the good in someone they rarely disappoint.

3.     Be assertive, not aggressive or passive. Share your thoughts, feeling, and needs.  One way to do this is to the old therapist standby of using “I” statements versus “you” statements. (e.g. “I worry when you do not let me know you’ll be late” rather than “You are always late.”)

4.     Avoid criticism. It is a relationship killer.  I think William Arthur Ward hit the nail on the head when he said, “Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I may not forget you.”  You can never share too much encouragement.

5.     If you must criticize, sandwich it with a least two positive comments. (e.g. “I appreciate it when you help out with cooking, the food is great. It would mean a lot to me if you could straighten up a little after you are done. Thanks again for dinner.)

6.     Listen to understand, not to judge.  Two eyes, two ears, one mouth. Listening is all about trying to understand.

7.     Use active listening. Summarize your partner’s comments before sharing your reactions or feelings.

8.     Avoid blaming each other at all costs. Instead, work together for a solution.  There is energy when we accept responsibility and decide to work towards a mutually beneficial solution.

9.     Manage your conflict.  (I will give you ten steps for resolving conflict in a few weeks.)

10.  Seek counseling.  If you are not able to have better results with your communication as a couple. Then take action.  Enroll in marriage/relationship class, read a book together, see your pastor, priest, or get counseling if you need to.

One of the best ways to increase the frequency of physical intimacy is through reliable communication. When men and women feel heard they usually are open to more intimacy.


My next article will be about the five levels of intimacy.

 

Shade of Grey-Shades of Love

Shades of Grey rolls out this weekend. The book series took the world by storm, and I am sure the movie will do the same.

But wait a minute.

One of the foundational principles of building and repairing a relationship is to understand the foundations of intimacy. It is not about technique, positions, or power, but about getting to know someone deeply.

Dwight Bain, a long time friend, therapist, and life coach shared some great thoughts in a recent presentation that I would like to pass along. It sets a good starting point for the next few weeks. Dwight was addressing married couples, but the points he makes are critical to developing any romantic relationship.

There are so many failed marriage stories in the headlines it can make you wonder, “Is an intimate relationship even possible anymore?” and if so, “How do you get one?” It seems that some couples quickly move from being fired up with romantic passion to wanting to just fire each other like a bully boss does to an exhausted employee. 

 It is no wonder people are more cautious about opening up their hearts to another person because they have likely witnessed the process of intensely romantic chemistry quickly eroding into hateful rejection and ugly conflicts. Everybody talks about wanting a meaningful relationship where he or she are loved and accepted, yet few are willing to take the chance of being vulnerable or hurt again.
Marital intimacy is about seeing into the heart and mind of your mate and learning to connect with them in multiple ways such as feeling close, accepted and loved on the inside, no matter what kind of pressure might be happening on the outside. Listen to the word intimacy slowly spoken… ‘Into-see-me’. Since real intimacy is about complete openness, and coming closer together to connect in the most intense ways.


To experience this kind of an emotional relationship, you need to understand both sides of an intimate connection to grow to a new level of purpose and passion together. These different levels of connection reflect the differences between a cultural view of relationship where romance is the primary goal; and a long-term perspective of marriage where learning to connect together with the realities of daily life is joined alongside romance to build intensity, regardless of the circumstances. You need both sides to make your relationship go the distance from short-term infatuation to build long-term success in your marriage.

My friend, Dr. Kevin Leman has an excellent resource that can help you heat it up at your house.

Sunday I will introduce the five levels of intimacy.

John Thurman is a Counselor, Speaker, and Author of Get a Grip on Depressionorder your personally autographed copy today.

Lighten Your Relationship Part 3

Lighten Your Relationship – Part 3

John H. Thurman Jr., M.Div. M.A., LPCC

In the past two articles we reviewed the overall benefits of Lightening Up Your Relationships, today, I will give you five proven tips you can use to lighten the load and enjoy the road in your relationship.

The benefits of humor and laughter to a relationship have been shown to improve physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. When you are relaxed and energized those closest to you also become energized.

So here are 4 the tips: (this is adapted from Laughter is the Best Medicine)

1.     Make sure both of you are in on the joke. Humor and playfulness can strengthen a relationship – but only when both of you are in on the joke. When playfulness is one-sided, it could be cloaked sarcasm, which is a form of anger. Playful and fun communication in a relationship should be mutually funny and enjoyable. Hint: If your partner is not laughing – it is not funny and might be hurtful.

2.     Learn to use humor to defuse conflict. This is one of the tools Angie, and I had developed over the years. One that our counselor encouraged. When things heat up in your relationship, one quick way to defuse the situation is by inserting a little humor and playfulness into the situation. When used appropriately it can help turn the energy of the conflict into a place of shared intimacy and fun.

3.     Don’t use humor to mask other emotions. As I stated earlier, humor, laughter, and playfulness are proven resilience enhancers when times are tough. However, there are times when humor is not healthy – mainly when used as a way to avoid or cover up painful emotions. If you tend to use humor in this way, it will backfire. Why? Because you create confusion and mistrust in your relationship when your tone, timing, or intensity is off. If humor is the only emotion, you know how to express, working on some other normal emotions such as sadness, fear, anxiety, and anger.

4.     Develop your sense of humor, playfulness, and joy by looking at what you already do as a couple that is fun or playful. Here are some ideas:

Telling jokes or funny stories

Watching funny movies, TV shows, or You Tube™ videos

Reading the funny pages

Dancing around to cheesy music

Daydreaming

Go to a comedy club

Spend time with funny people

Goof around with kids

Being silly

5.   Want to increase your laughter and joy capacity? Read Wednesday’s Blog.

Have fun lightening up your relationship this week.

© 2015 John H. Thurman Jr.

Lighten Up Your Relationship Part # 1  by John Thurman

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(c) 2014 John Thurman
Several years ago my wife and I had come to an impasse in our relationship. I was detached and living in my career, something men often do and my wife was into other things. I wish I could tell you that I suggested some counseling, but no, I was too proud and bone-headed to do that. It was my wife who  strongly encouraged me to make the call. Our counselor was a wise man who helped us learn to re-negotiate our marriage and reconnect. As we wrapped up therapy, he made a comment that surprised and encouraged us. He said, “Angie and John, like many couples that come to see me, you guys were way off track, but even in some of the tougher sessions you both maintained a healthy sense of humor. That let me know that you two are going to make it.”

Those encouraging words were a gift to us nearly 20 years ago and have sustained us through the ebbs and flows of our marriage.

The picture, for this post is my friend of over 25 years, Dan Rosecrans and his wife Laura. This was a surprise party for his most recent birthday. Needless to say a great, fun time was had by all.

Humor, laughter, and joy have a powerful effect on health and well-being. It alleviates tension and stress, boosts the mood, raises creativity and provides a prodigious, drug-free energy boost. Humor brings people together and helps them manage life better. An occasional shared belly laugh is an essential part of a strong, healthy relationship.

Laughter and joy and playful communication are some of the most useful, free tools that can keep your relationship vital, fresh, and stimulating. Humor and laughter can keep your relationship exciting, light, and producing joy. The by-products are increased intimacy, a sense of well-being as both individuals and as a couple. It is also one of the keys to a lasting relationship.

Here are six things that laughter and humor can do to enhance your relationship.

1.     Links you to others. We are hardwired for relationships. Your happiness and health, to a large degree, depend on the quality of your relationships. In addition, laughter helps strengthen the connections on several levels.

2.     It helps smooth over differences. Using soft humor often helps you deal with sensitive subjects, work through disagreements, and gain a fresh perspective on problems.

3.     Develops resilience. A sense of humor is one of the keys to resilience. The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress–such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.

4.     Increases energy and relaxes at the same time. Joy, humor, and laughter relieve fatigue and relax your body while recharging your batteries and helps you get more done.

5.     Renews perspective. Most relationships, life or job situations are not as bad when viewed through the window of joy and laughter.

6.     Increases creativity.  Playfulness and humor release certain brain chemicals that loosen you up, energize your thinking, and inspire creative problem-solving.

Have fun lightening up your relationship this week. 

Thursday: The Health Benefits of Laughter in Your Relationship

© 2015 John H. Thurman Jr.


After You Say “I Do” Part #3

After You Say “I Do” 3 of 3

By John Thurman, M.Div., M.A., LPCC

I hope you have enjoyed some of the “before and after” comments. Some of these happen to all of us in our relationships. One of my professors used to say, “You date the adult, but you marry the child.”

One of our goals as couples is to be intentional about turning towards each other. Many couples slowly forget to do this which can begin to erode the relationship.

This week I want to give you a short, practical, communication tip list that is guaranteed to boost your communication. While the focus is on your relationship, these tips work will work in your day to day living. I will use the word LISTEN as a mental hook for you.

          L       Lean forward and look into your partner’s eyes. Don’t do a stare down it is normal for people to look away from time to time while talking.

            I         Use “I” statements as opposed to “you” statements.   This lets your partner know that you are trying to understand, but might need some help.

            S        Shared Responsibility. Most of us work really hard to find ways to blame our spouse, family of origin, in-laws or others for the problems in our relationships. The truth is that most of the people in relationships share the responsibility for when things go good or bad. A friend of mine used to say, “If you make a mess, take ownership of it, confess it, then clean your mess up.”

            T       Tenacious. Don’t get stuck being wimpy or whiny. Lean into the relationship, unless it is abusive, and do what you can to make it better.

            E       Encourage. The word means to give courage, hope, and confidence. Several years ago, Angie and I were going through a rough patch and went in for some counseling. I will never forget what our counselor said during one of our sessions. “Angie, you and John, despite this rough time you are going through still have a sense of humor and manage to encourage each other despite the challenges. That is part of what is going       to get you through this season of your life.”

            N     Negate the negative. Make surely don’t over think the negatives about the relationship. It is so easy to become stuck in a negative rut. That state of mind will destroy a relationship. Instead, look for positive things. Be intentional about looking for the positive.

I can almost guarantee you that if you begin doing just a couple of these, the results will be immediate.
 (c) 2014 John Thurman

After the “I Do’s” 2 of 3

By John Thurman, M.Div., M.A., LPCC

Last week we looked at some of the ways Mr. Wonderful had lost his luster. This week it is the ladies’ turn. By the way, be sure to let yourself laugh a little as we review the before and after scenarios.

Before:
It is the first time you have served him a meal at your place. The table is laid out nicely. The food is in nice dishes waiting to be served, and you actually serve it to him with a smile, when he arrives.

After:
Now, he comes home from work and you say, “There are some leftovers in the refrigerator you can heat them up in the microwave, the remote in on the coffee table.”

Before:
You invite him over to your house or apartment and say come in and make yourself comfortable

After:
Now, with a straight face, and a rather condemning look you say, “Hey, put the lid down when you finish, you are not the only one living here.”

Before:
You hear him pulling into the garage, and you think to yourself-“My sweet-hearted man is home.”

After:
Now, you hear him pulling into the garage, and you sigh to yourself – “Oh my Lord, he is home!”

Before:
You see your boyfriend after a long day of work and being a loving, caring person that you are; you massage his shoulders and ask about his day.

After:
As soon as he sits down, you tell him all the things that need to be done in the house and remind him of the list of things that he has not done. He cringes and wonders why he did not hang out with the guys from the office, before coming home.

Before:
You took pride in how you looked and made sure you always had your hair and makeup done nicely. Your girlfriends used to brag on how “put together you were.”

After:
Your wardrobe now consist of jeans, T-shirts, flip flops, and your hair is held up with the morning newspapers rubber band. You get very upset when he does not pay you compliments or if he innocently looks at another woman who is just walking past, but happens to look gorgeous.

Now don’t get upset. We all fall into different types of ruts once we are married.

Next week I will give you six things you can do to boost your communication.