Tag Archives: Couples

How to Stay Married

Screen shot 2013-11-22 at 2.25.43 AMHow To Stay Married,” is a web series that is actually the delicious appetizer to the book I am writing, “Take My Spouse Please: how the rules of comedy will keep your marriage happy, healthy and thriving!” (Shambhala Press, January 2015).

After one particularly tough night with my husband, huddled up on the bed hugging a pillow, I remembered something people used to say to me all the time when I was a comic, “Stand up comedy? That is the hardest thing in the world to do, I could never do that, that is the hardest thing!”

 

Wiping my tears with a pillowcase, I didn’t think so.  At least a comedy set is over in two hours, max.  Being married, now that was something you could really lose sleep over.

I decided to consult a syllabus I used to teach a course in Stand up Comedy at UCLA for almost ten years and see if any of the tools I taught people who wanted to be comics, the other hardest thing to do in the world, would help me persevere in what is genuinely the hardest thing to do, staying married.

Turns out most of the lessons were spot on.  Listening, showing up, paying attention to timing, letting go of a bad night, these were all things that could absolutely help me in my marriage.

Then I decided to also go out and talk to long term happily married people to see how they did it.   Emphasis on happily.  Anyone can stay married, but I was looking for people to learn from and who could inspire me.

“How To Stay Married,” then, is filmed excerpts of some of the couples I interviewed.  The show focuses specifically on those key challenges in every marriage of handling money, fighting fairly, having sex, and continuing to surprise each other.

These couples certainly surprised me! They also made me laugh and inspired me.  I know you are going to love them. You can watch all four videos, starting with making sex a priority right here.

Tell us what you think of Dani’s web series in the comments below and pass along to the couples you know! 

When Too Much of a Good Thing Sours a Marriage

Wedding ringsBy: Sherrie Campbell, Ph.D.

When we fall in love and meet that most amazing person for us, we feel as if we have finally come to a place where we can rest. It not easy to meet the right person to spend our lives with and the search can be long, disappointing and hard. When it finally feels right, all of that disappointment is quickly erased and it feels as if it all had a purpose once we have met the one we want to settle down with. There is not a more beautiful feeling than this. What do we do then, we when we know we have met our perfect partner and over time it seems as if what we have is almost too good and things start to sour?

1) Balance Out Too Much Time Together:  Many couples who are madly in love tend to spend all their time together, not leaving any time for family, friends or other alone-time activities. They try and do all of these activities together. This must be balanced out.

2) Get Back to Friend Time:  Every person needs more than one person in their lives to have a healthy balance. Friends and family are important sources of connection and belonging and meet totally different needs than our partner. These people make our lives whole and our identities more solid. Getting feedback and interaction from many people is a great source of self-esteem.

3) Alone Time Activities: Whether it is working out, reading, taking walks, taking baths or watching TV make sure you get enough of this. Remind yourself that you can be alone and feel completely fulfilled. It is so important to maintain activities that soothe and fulfill your soul that have nothing to do with anyone but you. This reminds you of your vale, of your special qualities and that you are happy on your own.

4) Support Your Partner’s Independence: Make sure you support your partner to go out in this world to be the biggest, brightest version that they can be. We should want our partner’s to be fulfilled in all ways and not held back by the marriage. Rather the marriage should be the supportive spring board from which all success occurs.

5) Never Do For Your Partner What They Can Do for Themselves:  The best way to help your partner grow is to encourage them to handle their own life challenges. You can support your partner emotionally but do not get too enmeshed in their issues. This creates arguments and not enough separation. Life challenges us all, be there to support and encourage but not to enable.

When each partner came into the relationship they had independent lives, activities and commitments which made them fulfilled. It happens so often when we combine with someone we lose track of how we eat, how much exercise, read, and do the things which fulfilled us before.  We become one with our partner and their desires giving up essential parts of ourselves. Soon each partner misses the person the other used to be and they miss the person they used to be. It takes discipline not to lose yourself into someone else but if you want the marriage to last long term, make sure you love yourself and your partner enough to maintain your own happiness and identity.

Little life message: The sexiest thing to be to your partner is interesting, so make sure to keep your independence.

 ***

Dr. Sherrie Campbell is the author of Loving Yourself and is a licensed Psychologist with more than nineteen years of clinical training and experience. She provides practical tools to help people overcome obstacles to self-love and truly achieve an empowered life. Click here to get her free article on Five Ways to Make Love the Common Ground in Your Communication.   She is a featured expert on a variety of national websites and has a successful practice in Southern California. Receive free insights from Sherrie and to be involved in her Facebook community of others looking to improve their relationship. For more information visit http://www.sherriecampbellphd.com.

3 Ways to Feel Loved When Your Relationship is Ending

relationship difficultiesMost of us have been trained to believe that when a relationship ends, we lose the love of the person who we once felt so loved by. This belief is an instant misery-creating lie that is simply not true. The truth is, love is impossible to lose. Yes, you feel pain because of this breakup, but not because you’ve lost your former person’s love. You hurt because endings of any kind are sad. You hurt because you have lost the dream of what could have been. You hurt because the loss stirs up your own fears and past pains. You hurt because there is an empty space in your life that wasn’t there before, a space that you’ve been told is the loss of love, but it’s not.

The space you feel is an opening for more love to come into your life – starting with the love you have for yourself, and then expanding to include all the love that the world is just salivating to give you. Love is everywhere, when you are open to receiving it, and when you know where to look. Opening to love can be hard during a breakup, but I know no better medicine than love for mending a bruised or broken heart.

If you are interested in taking yourself off the pain train and moving into a space where you can honor your sadness and at the same time feel more love, happiness and possibility, then read on and put these three Love-Generators to work for you:

1. Tell yourself the truth. You are not losing love. You are ending a relationship.

Do yourself a BIG favor and be honest about why your relationship ended, and don’t make it about love. Love is an easy excuse when you don’t want to be real about why your breakup is necessary to stay true to the most important partner in your life … you.

Love is indestructible. It may get masked or deeply buried under feelings of anger and disappointment, but even in the most gnarly circumstances, love never disappears, it just goes into hiding.

Relationships are dynamic, they are always changing form, and sometimes in order to be happy, two people have to go their separate ways – which has nothing to do with love. Relationships end not because the love dies, but because the intimacy, trust, respect or connection fades, because the contract with each other completes, or because you each want and need different things from life. Not all relationships are meant to ‘be forever,’ if they were, you’d never meet anyone new.

Make a list of all the reasons why the ending of this relationship is GOOD for you, necessary for you to live the life you were destined to live. Then, take an act of self-love and state the reasons out loud. Self-honesty is self-love.

Know this. You are loved. Always. And that love, starts and end with you. It’s ridiculous to give the power of feeling loved away to another, when you have the power to feel loved at will inside of yourself.

2. Mourn the loss of the dream, not of the person. And remember your dream didn’t die.

We often cause ourselves more pain than needed during a breakup because we misplace our mourning energy and end up grieving more than we need. We’ve already established that the love lives on, so you can take “loss of love” off your mourning list. You can also take off ‘grieving the loss of my ex-person’ – because they are not dead, they just aren’t sleeping next to you anymore. What is dying and important to grieve is the loss of the DREAM you had for this relationship. Your hopes, intentions and co-created dreams came to a crashing halt when the choice was made to end the partnership, and the loss of those dreams is where much of the pain lies. But when you aren’t clear that’s it’s the lost dream you are mourning, you get all caught up in trying to change and control things you can’t.

So be sad. Get angry. Move into acceptance and surrender that this particular dream is gone. But don’t stay stuck there. Keep your mind out of dramatic thoughts like “My relationship is over!” or “I’ll be alone forever!” or “What if he finds someone else and loves her more?” Thoughts like these create unnecessary pain – kind of like poking your tongue into fresh dental work. Ouch! It hurts. Don’t do it.

Move your focus from what you can’t control – bringing the old dream back – and dive into what you can, reconnecting with the dream you have for your life! The ending of one dream means the beginning of another, and you still have the power to dream forward the life your heart and soul want.

When you dream yourself forward, you create more love in your life because you are telling yourself that you are worth dreaming for. And you are. Yes, the dream of your former relationship may have ended, but your dreams for yourself didn’t, so why would you give up on yourself? If you aren’t dreaming yourself forward, who will? Love yourself enough to move towards your dreams.

3. Find proof that love exists everywhere. Fill your life with love.

While you might not be receiving the oodles of physical love you once did from your former mate, he/she is not the only love source on the planet. The worst thing you can do during a breakup is starve yourself from love… that is the surest way to get your Inner Mean Girl all riled up with rants like, “You’ll never be loved again.” Which of course, is a straight up lie.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to find proof of love and fill your life with it. You live on a planet that is abundantly full of love – it’s everywhere – and it’s your job to see it, ask for it, and let it in. The more love you surround yourself with, the more love you will feel, and the easier this transition will be for you.

Here is your shopping list of love generators. Put the list up somewhere you can see it, and make sure each week you are getting your fill.

  • Connection. Connection creates love. Be with people who love you. Not to talk about ‘the relationship’ or fix you but just to be with. Walk. Snuggle. Play. Let them love on you.
  • Smiles. Show those pearly whites to anyone you can – baristas, strangers, the person sitting next to you on the bus – and when they smile back, let the love in. When they don’t – and some won’t – smile anyway and send them love. A great way to feel love is to give it.
  • Music. No sappy love songs, only inspiring, uplifting music for you. Turn it on, dance it out. This is an instant way to turn your obsessive mind off and open your heart to love. India Arie is my fave.
  • Animals and Children. Like instant shots of love, hug a puppy, look into the eyes of a baby, pet a kitty, and just feel their innocence and love permeate your cells.
  • Self-Love. Do nice things for yourself. Take yourself on dates. Do the things you love. Take a risk. Remind yourself of why you love you. Make an I-Love-ME list – 108 reasons why you love you. Keep it in your purse, and on hard days, read it to yourself. Instant love.

Orignally posted in April, 2011.

 

8 Cute (And Cheap) Ways To Celebrate Your Anniversary With Your Sweetheart

Is your anniversary with your sweetheart coming up? Whether you are celebrating your six-month, one year or five year, celebrating an anniversary is a wonderful way to rekindle old flames and remind each other how special your relationship is.

Celebrating a romantic anniversary doesn’t mean you have to go broke ordering a fancy dinner or going on a cruise. Here are 8 cheap and cute ways to celebrate that lovey-dovey milestone with your one and only.

1. Have a romantic staycation. Be homebodies at home, but with an extra touch of romance. Like take-out with tea light candles and a shared bubble bath. The usual home-cooked dinner and rented movie but with an extra-special bottle of wine and some decadent dessert. No hassle of taking reservations or leaving tip.

2. Make a day-trip of all the monumental places in your neighborhood that mean something to both of you. Have a whirlwind journey of all the places that only both of you would understand why it’s so special: the restaurant of the first date, the pier where that funny memory happened, that hole-in-the-wall  ice cream parlor you both discovered together on that random Friday night.

3. Go to that local attraction you’ve been meaning to go to for ages.  All of us are guilty of being lazy about enjoying our own neighborhood attractions because we take it for granted that it will always be there. Celebrate your anniversary by going to that one museum, state park, nature hike, botanical garden, funky dessert cafe or concert hall you’ve both been meaning to go for ages but have been putting off.

4. Enjoy a retro date. Where’s your poodle skirt and cat-eyes glasses? Enjoy love and romance with your honey bunny like it’s 1959: go roller-skating, find a drive-in, share an ice cream sundae at a soda shop and more.

5. Make something for each other. Go to one of those kitschy Color Me Mine stores where you and your sweetheart can make each other a personalized ceramic mug or plate. Or if you’re one of those super-ambitious creative types, make each other a small painting to hang on each other’s walls.

6. Find a cute and cheap way to document your very special day. Maybe your starving artist friend would be willing to snap some photographs of you and your soul mate for a very affordable fee for one afternoon photo session in the park. Or with a flip came and iMovie, you and your loved one can make a very short and sweet internet video that you can watch for years to come when you want to take a stroll down memory lane.

7. Learn something together. Many community classes offer very good discounts for first-time students who are trying out an activity for free. Maybe this is the day to learn ballroom dancing, take a cooking class, surfing class or to try bikram yoga for the first time together.

8. Check out some amazing flower fields in your area. Maybe your state has some awe-inspiring flower parks where you and your lover can hold hands, meander among colorful bloom and fall in love again.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / dmitri_morozov

Originally published in 2010

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard: Going Green, Veganism, Yoga and More

Dax Shepard recently did an interview with Joel McHale where the two bantered about a laundry list of things, including going green.

Joel mentioned he recently ran into Dax’s love, Kristen Bell at an L.A. grocery store, where “she lectured [him] about getting plastic bags.”

For the record, where I live in Los Angeles, stores won’t even give you plastic bags. You have to pay $.10 per bag if you don’t bring your own. Makes you learn fast (well, at least if you’re not a celebrity with little to no financial concerns).

“She was probably carrying around our big, green Costco bags,” Dax said knowingly.

“Yeah,” Joel said. “And I think I had a whole roasted chicken, and I was like, would you like some? And she said no, I’m a vegetarian, and I’m like, there’s a surprise!”

Clearly The Soup host hasn’t gotten the memo about all Hollywood going green. At least he had Kristen around to teach him.

Dax and Kristen have been going green as a couple. This made me think. Anytime you want to do something good, righteous, or in this case, financially sound, it helps to have a partner along with you. Even for those not in a relationship, think about it. If you want to recycle all your recyclables, and your roommate could care less, well, let’s just say you’ll see a lot of water bottles in the trashcan. And if you want to become a vegetarian and your BFF does it too, they’ll stop you from adding bacon to your salad in those first tough days.

This duo is all about working on bettering themselves together. The two recently went vegan together.

”It’s more about the health benefits than the ethics,” Kristen admitted of her recent decision to go from a vegetarian to vegan. “But it’s compounded by the fact that I love animals and feel better not eating them.”

Kristen, and her fiancée, don’t limit themselves to veganism when it comes to improving their health. In fact, they do a lot of things together that many of us over here at Intent swear by.

Kristen admitted that she and Dax recently started meditating, and enjoy a 20 minute session each day.

According to INeedMotivation.com, which published an 100 Benefits to Meditation list, this may be one of the secrets behind their successful relationship.

Among the benefits are improved relationships, increase in the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones, as well as increases in listening skills and empathy.

And there is no denying Kristen and Dax do not lack at all when it comes to intimate contact.

Kristen, who enjoy sunrise yoga sessions with her love admits that she holds hands with him during it.

“We nauseate ourselves with how mushy we are. It’s a wonderful way to connect,” she explained.

While I won’t say that I wouldn’t be mildly nauseous seeing a couple at sunrise holding hands doing yoga, there is definitely something to be said about it (and it’s slightly adorable – there I said it). Dax and Kristen have proved resilient to Hollywood pressures (among like many, many other couples) and choose to live a life beneficial to them — with meditation, yoga and green living. And who can argue that that isn’t a recipe for a lifetime of success?

What do you think? Do you think it’s good for couples to share meaningful moments of meditation and work together to be green? Do you have a friend who helps you eat and live healthy (and couldn’t do it without them)? Or do you prefer for these to be independent ventures? Weigh in below!

 

photo by: LabyrinthX

Five Ideas for Inexpensive Romantic Gifts This Christmas


Romantic Relaxation Evening. First, after you shower in the morning, and unbeknownst to your beloved, write a message in the steam that forms on the mirrors. Before she (or he) comes home, prepare a bubble bath. Scatter rose petals on top. Light candles around the bathroom. Leave warmed towels within easy reach and a clean robe hanging on the door. Soft music, a glass of wine, and perhaps a book she (or he) has been longing to read are all you need for an evening of pampering. Close the door and allow your “steam” message to appear. A long massage following the soak is a wonderful way to show your love and affection.


                                                                                                                                                        

Make a Mix Tape. Okay, it doesn’t have to be an old school tape. You can burn a CD or buy an inexpensive iPod and load up all the songs have special significance for the two of you or ones that make you think of your romantic partner. This may become a tradition that you both can look forward to every year. For a list of romantic songs, click here

 

Customized Page-A-Day Calendar. This idea can be a bit time consuming, but well worth the effort. Get a blank page-a-day calendar, and write little or long notes for every day of the year. As an alternative to notes, you can also include favorite jokes, tape or glue in pictures, movie or concert stubs, or other items.


Make a Masterpiece Together. Well, maybe not a masterpiece, but certainly something you can have fun with and create a lasting memory from, no matter how it turns out. Buy an inexpensive canvass, some acrylic paint, and some brushes (or hey, even finger paints). For fun after the canvass is completed, you can continue your artistic evening with some edible body paints!


Create Your Very Own Truth-or-Dare Game. You and your partner can conspire and create this game together, each writing your own set of “truth” questions and your own set of “dare” questions. Then play the game. You may find out answers to some burning questions you’ve been dying to ask, and you may get to indulge in some fantasies that you have been too shy to voice otherwise.

 

Shifting Roles: Supporting Your Spouse

 

Two people in a relationship may shift in and out of various roles and it is important to ebb and flow together like a tide.

Throughout the course of a successful marriage or long-term commitment, the two people in the relationship may shift in and out of various roles. For example, one person in the couple may support the other person going back to school. In order to do this, he or she steps into a supporting role, setting aside certain goals or aspirations in order to provide a stable base from which his or her partner can launch in a new direction. There are many gifts of learning inherent in this role—from having the opportunity to embody a nurturing stance to feeling the pleasure of seeing a loved one thrive. When our partner expands his or her horizons, ours expand, too, and we gain access to a world that would otherwise remain closed to us.

However, there is also much to be said for having a turn to be the one stepping outside the box, perhaps taking time to attend to our personal healing, spiritual pursuits, or other interests. In order to maintain balance within our relationships, it’s important that we address these issues each time one person steps into a supporting role so the other can try something new. When we are conscious about acknowledging that one person is bearing a bit more of a burden so that the other can grow, we stand a better chance of making sure the ebb and flow in the relationship remains fair and equal.

The most important part of this process is open communication in which each person has a chance to express how they feel and come to an understanding about the roles they have agreed to play and when they expect them to shift. Each time a dynamic shift occurs, a ceremony of acknowledgment can lend an air of distinction to the moment. This can be a simple dinner date or an elaborate ritual, depending upon what works best for us at the time. Perhaps the most important thing is expressing gratitude to the person in the supporting role and encouragement to the person moving in a new direction. When the flow of feeling and communication is open, a healthy closeness develops that allows each person in the relationship to have a turn at each of these important roles.

 

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / jenny downing

Summer Lovin’: Why Warm-Weather Romances Are So Magical

 Something happens to the air when the seasons change around this time of year, and I’m not just talking about spring’s breezes shifting into summer’s sweltering heat. It’s like every moment is marked with an added sense of suspense and anticipation, as if a groundbreaking event could happen any second. That’s especially true when it comes to love. Falling for someone is always nice, but when it happens in the summer, it feels even more magical.

The desire for a seasonal romance is constantly fueled by pop culture, which teaches us through movies like Grease and Dirty Dancing that love blossoming under the summer sun can overcome almost anything—social inequalities, friends who don’t get along, even opposite personalities—except the season’s end. But where does the idea of summer love come from? Pop culture isn’t the source of our infatuation; it merely borrows from a theme that runs deep within us already. There are actual physical and social drives behind high-intensity flings during high temperatures.

More Sunlight Means More Hormones
I have a friend in the throes of a summer romance right now. She talks and thinks about the guy nonstop, and it drives her crazy when they’re apart during the workday. Their courtship was brief, sidestepping the usual “I’ll call you laters” and diving headfirst into a full-fledged relationship. That’s partly because of their electric compatibility and partly because, like all truly memorable summer loves, theirs has an expiration date. (He’s moving in a few months.) The end in sight makes their time together even more pressing—and even more painful when it can’t happen for whatever reason. “It’s like a drug,” she explained to me one day, lamenting the hours she had to spend without him. “It’s like that Nina Simone song that goes, ‘Waiting for you to come home and turn me on,’ like she’s almost dead without her man.”

That might sound extreme, but anyone who’s crushed hard knows the emotional crash of being away from that special someone. The feeling is exaggerated even more in the summer, thanks to our brains’ hormonal reaction to increased daylight hours. Mood, hunger, thirst, sexual desire, and many other emotional drives come from certain hormones, the release of which is controlled by an area of the brain called the hypothalamus. It’s activated by light hitting the eyes; when that happens, the hypothalamus sends out hormones that, among other things, make us feel more lovey-dovey than usual.

Other chemical occurrences that sunlight triggers within the body probably contribute to the summer-romance predilection as well. Studies show that testosterone, a hormone involved in our sex drive, hits a peak during the summer. Gives “hot summer nights” a whole new meaning, doesn’t it? And not only are people more lustful because of hormones, but they’re also more energetic. Light encourages serotonin production, the hormone that makes us feel happy and content, and discourages melatonin release, the sleep-inducing hormone. Basically, all this means that the surge of energy, the high spirits, and the heightened libido we experience on hot summer days (and nights) aren’t just figments of our imaginations. The seasonal bodily changes that take place create the perfect situation for our hearts to rule over our heads, if only for a few months.


The Adult’s Version of Summer Vacation
Hormonal fluctuations might be somewhat responsible for our obsession with summer love, but the societal obsession with summer in general plays a part, too. As schoolkids, we looked forward to those three months of vacation more than anything else because they represented unadulterated freedom and fun. Getting older means the loss of summer vacation, but we still hold on to the season’s affiliation with good times. It’s just that what constitutes a good time becomes more, um, mature as we get older as well. Adults tend to let their hair down during breaks; who doesn’t act a little wilder on vacation? We don’t get three months off anymore, but we still crave the temporary pause from real-world rules that summer vacation used to bring. Instead, we take the subsequent thrills where we can get them.

Plus, as you’ve no doubt noticed, high temperatures have an inverse effect on the amount of skin covered up by clothes. When the sun’s at its most potent, hemlines go up, sleeves become nonexistent, and our bodies sweat in response to the heat, thus releasing more pheromones—chemicals that prompt attraction—into the air than usual. See, it all goes back to the chemicals; clearly, summer love is a force beyond our control.

I suspect that the need to break free from monotonous everyday life when given a chance, combined with the sun’s stimulating effects on the hormones that fuel fervor and affection, is what makes summer ripe for flings and fleeting, passionate love affairs. It’s why movies like Grease and Dirty Dancing are so compelling and timeless. It’s why there’s an extra spring in our steps on particularly nice days. It’s why everyone around us seemingly falls in love at the drop of a hat around this time. And it’s why we have trouble concentrating at work, daydreaming about what summer nights might bring, instead of writing and researching story assignments. (Hypothetically speaking, of course.) I say it’s time to listen to our bodies and take summer by storm—so what are you doing reading this? Go forth into the sunshine and let your hormones guide you toward a summer love worthy of its own movie.

 

 

An Exciting New Model For Couples Living Together: SEPARATE BEDROOMS

Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera did not have the most stable marriage ever. Though their mutual passion and intense admiration for each other was undeniable, both of them betrayed each other in a string of affairs, with Diego even sleeping around with Frida’s sister early on in their marriage. SCANDAL! 

Though Frida and Diego’s lifelong alliance was hardly picture-perfect, I believe they got one thing right: living in separate house-studios connected by a bridge. As a married couple, they still had their own work space, sleeping space and living space. I wonder a lot if there would be more happier marriages if more couples did that. 

Granted, not all of us are filthy rich enough to commission an architect to design our own dream two-houses-connected-by-a-bridge space for ourselves and our romantic partners. But we can do the next best thing: live together, but have separate bedrooms.

Once considered the living arrangement of estranged couples who have fallen out of love, more and more newly married couples and long-term unmarried couples are opting for the separate bedroom arrangement right from the start. According to a New York Times article from 2007, there is an increased demand for dual master bedrooms and architects predict that by 2015, more than 60 percent of houses will have dual master bedrooms instead of the conventional one master bedroom. In the meantime, couples are making do with putting up a wall in the master bedroom, or one half of the couple moving into a spare bedroom or den for his or her separate sleeping space.

Though more couples are opting for the separate-but-equal sleeping arrangement, the majority of couples who set up their living space this way are not eager to publicize it, as the social stigma of couples sleeping in separate bedrooms still exists.

Sleeping separately makes so much more sense to me than being forced to share a bed, seven nights a week, with another human being who probably has very different sleeping habits and sleeping styles from you. Snuggling and spooning is awesome–until the blanket-hogging, snoring, sleep-talking, kicking and tossing-turning sets in. Nothing kills couple tranquility like a night of restless sleep the morning after.

What I like about the separate bedroom arrangement is that it never eliminates the option of sleeping in the same bed with your spouse or significant other. Yes, you can have your couple cuddling and late-night intimate what-have-yous. ("My space or your space?") You can ALSO have the luxury of your own bedroom and your own bed when you want to check in early and wake up early. Or party until the wee hours and crash under the blankets without disturbing a hubby who wants to work out at 5:30AM the next morning.

Here are a few compelling reasons to opt for the separate-bedroom model if you are moving in with your spouse or significant other: 

– You will both get better sleep. Two well-rested people make for a much happier union.

– Both of you will still have your respective private spaces. Married or not married, we all need a private space to retreat to when we need to chill out, be introverted, and have some quality alone-time with ourselves. Having that space should not go out the window just because you’re living with your partner. 

– Sharing a bed and cuddling together won’t get old as fast. Sleeping separately but having those occasional cuddle nights is a great way to keep the relationship spice going.

– No compromises with bedroom decor. You can still have your crazy rainbow bedspread, paper lanterns and faux leopard floor rug with Christmas lights. Or whatever suits your fancy.

What will modern marriage look like if more and more couples opted for separate bedrooms under the same roof? Or separate living spaces within one apartment building? Though these new living models aren’t for everybody, creating new and flexible definitions of what a happy cohabitation looks like is always an exciting development worth celebrating.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / Jonathan!

Is It Time To Open Up To New Love?

Dear Arielle & Brian,

Two years ago, the love of my life left me.  We are gay but she told me she didn’t want to be gay anymore and was on a religious tangent.  Six months later she was in a relationship with another woman. Our passionate connection was indescribable.  Our intense magnetic bond was not only physical but emotional & spiritual.  However, she left me so I obviously wasn’t "the one" for her anymore. 

She always said we had a "special" relationship and I honestly feel she still loves me and will return to me someday.  I guess you could say I’m obsessed with her. We’ve had no contact and I don’t know whether to keep my love for her alive in my heart (as I have for the past two years) or let her go and manifest a new soulmate. 

Thank you for your help. 

Susannah

 

Dear Susannah,

 

Here’s the question to ask yourself: do I want to spend my life with someone who loves, cherishes and adores me?  And if so, by when? If you answered yes, and soon, then it’s time to let her go and open yourself to new love. Otherwise you can wait, and remain in this state of obsession (your words not ours) and hope she comes back. But, even if she comes back, is this the relationship of your dreams? Or, to be honest, is it even healthy?  In the book The Path to Love, Deepak Chopra beautifully outlines the spiritual meaning of love and how it is best measured:

Love can heal, renew, make us safe, inspire us, and bring us closer to God.

 

Susannah, if you were completely honest with yourself, is your current situation invoking these feelings of love? We all have many potential soulmates (lets remember there are 6.5 billion people on the planet and right now you only need one) so you get to choose who to devote your time, energy and life to with the prize ultimately being a soulmate to experience the type of love Deepak so eloquently describes. Isn’t this what your heart is really calling for?

Wishing you love, laughter and magical kisses,

Arielle & Brian



Arielle Ford, author of The Soulmate Secret:  Manifest The Love of Your Life With The Law of Attraction and her husband Brian Hilliard, a business consultant, answer your questions about life, love and relationships. They believe that whether you are eighteen or eighty years old finding Big Love is always possible. Email your questions to: soulmatesecret@yahoo.com

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