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How Do You Blow Your Marriage?

Here is my radio interview with Susan Knight of Calgary’s up!97.7 FM today:

On her radio show this afternoon, Susan Knight mentioned a blog post by Single Dad Laughing. Having two divorces under his belt, the author wrote a post on 16 Ways I Blew My Marriage. I think it is a fabulous piece because it gives us all the opportunity to look at our relationships and see where we are “blowing” it right now, but it also gives us tools to make things better.

Single Dad Laughing (aka Dan Pearce) has some great insight, and I highly recommend you read the blog for yourself. But before you do, let me highlight a few take-aways from his list.

1)   The little things are important. You know how we are always told not to sweat the small stuff? Well, the small stuff is important in marriage because a bunch of small stuff accumulates into big stuff over time. Remembering to hold hands, putting effort into staying attractive, making meals and letting your spouse know you appreciate him – that might seem small in the moment but it has a huge impact on a long-term relationship.

2)   Get rid of contempt. Yelling, name-calling, and believing you are better than your spouse are all signs of contempt in your relationship. According to Dr. John Gottman (who claims to predict divorce with 93% accuracy), contempt is the fast-track to divorce. So stop calling your spouse a jerk or pointing out all his faults…it’s not a productive way to let out your frustration.

3)   You have got to laugh! Laughter (often prevalent in the infancy of our relationship) is absolutely crucial to its well-being. Pearce mentions that you have to have fun together, and while I agree whole-heartedly, I would take this a step further. Laughter releases endorphins in our brains and makes us feel closer together. So, instead of fighting, trying watching a funny movie or going to a comedy show together instead. When we are laughing with each other, it is a lot easier to sort through the tough stuff in our marriage.

Thanks for bringing Pearce’s post to my attention, Susan! The rest of you can go read it for yourselves here.

Top Ten Technology Flirts

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Yesterday was a crazy day. You know the type where you have to carry a colour-coded schedule just to make it through the day without doing something foolish like, well, forgetting your kid at school??? (Don’t laugh too hard. We did that earlier this week) It was bonkers. Eric and I were flying in different directions, Riley had places to be and needs to be met. We ended the day flopped on the bed together, eating pizza and watching a kid’s movie about enchanted princesses and undying love.

After we put Riley to bed, Eric and I ventured downstairs with ambitious plans to work some more. This is one of the significant pitfalls of working from home. The lines between work and home life get completely blurred and it becomes exceedingly easy to work all the time. There is no such thing as a 9-5 work schedule. That could be a blog post in and of its own!

But on this occasion, we were just too tired to work. Instead, we ended up sitting right next to each other with our computers out. Then we found each other on Facebook. And we starting flirting. Outrageously. Which led to hearty laughter. Then our friends and family started to chime in on the discussion and we giggled even more. At last count, we were up to 32 comments and one “like”. I’m not sure what the record for comments on Facebook is – I am sure that we fell far short of that record – but that was a lot for us!

This interaction led me to think: who is your spouse flirting with on Facebook today? If it’s not you, there is a problem. This is a skill set you might want to pick up.

Realizing that this is a significant issue, I consulted one of my techy guru friends for his hottest tips on ways to use technology to flirt with your spouse.  Around here we call him JDog.  I think you’ll find him to be as refreshing and enlightening as we do.

J-Dog’s Top Ten List:

J-Dog’s Note: Ok, so Eryn-Faye asked me to come up with ten ways to flirt using technology, and I thought, “Oh, that’s easy!” Turns out that with the steady march of this thing we call ‘convergence’, the lines between various technologies are becoming less and less clear. Some of these suggestions will obviously cross over to others, and some won’t as much. The one commonality should be creativity – as long as you can think of something fun and creative to say to your lover, the technology can help you convey that message. I managed to come up with ten, although the last one is illegal, so don’t do it, ok?

Also, I’ll add the standard disclaimer that I’m a guy, and in spite my attempt to balance this with tips for both sexes, my own biases will show. Whatever.

1. Texting. Most people have mobile phones these days, and many couples each have their own. Texting is usually free, especially between family members (check your rate plan before going crazy with the texts, though!). Send your spouse a short, badly-spelled note informing them of just how hot you think they are. If you’re female, include details about your underwear. While this is quite effective if they are at work, it can be even more fun to do when you’re in the same room as each other. It’s a very good way to build the sexual tension between you when you’re at a party, for example.

A sub-genre of this is known as ‘sexting’, and is generally more risqué (and risky!) and involves sending sexy photos of yourself to your spouse’s cellphone or email. A couple things to keep in mind if you want to try this are that you shouldn’t be stupid and include pictures of your face, because it’s pretty much guaranteed these pictures will not remain entirely private (especially if the recipient is a guy!). Also, be very careful when selecting the recipient from your address book, as a slip of the finger on that tiny keypad means the wrong person gets to see your naughty bits! Again, check your rate plan to make sure it’s not going to bankrupt you to send that picture.

If you don’t have a mobile to send text from, most carriers allow you to send texts from their website, or via email. For example, for Telus Mobility customers, you’d send an email to tendigitmobilenumber@msg.telus.com. Check your carrier’s website for details on how to do this.

2. Skype. This would include other kinds of real-time text chat as well, such as MSN, Yahoo! Chat, or Google Chat. Whatever network you both use, put it to good use by turning up the heat now and then. If you are apart from each other during the day, try to get online at the same time now and then, and just talk about how much you love each other, or how much you miss them. Tell him about your underwear. If your network of choice supports video, use it! It’s amazing what a turn on it is just to see your lover’s face while you talk to them. And if you have the opportunity, live video can spice things up in other ways too!

3. Music. It’s long been known that music is a great way to romance a woman. Dudes, fire up iTunes and buy her a gift card or use the Gift This function to send a specific song directly to her inbox. Browse the Latin and Jazz genres, or find a new mix of one of your old favourites. Girls, just send him a song about underwear. There’s lots on there, trust me.

4. Twitter. You can say a lot in 140 characters or less. Tweet about your lover. Let your followers know how much you appreciate them. Just for fun, start a hashtag with their name, and use it lots. And use the private message capabilities to add some spice!

5. Facebook. Eryn-Faye mentioned this one in her post, and I have to say it was a lot of fun watching that conversation go on! Facebook is a great way to publicly flirt with your lover, and letting your friends inject their own humour into the process can result in some hilarious moments. Use your status updates to brag about how great your spouse is – making oblique references to their sexual prowess not only tells them you think they are ‘all that’, but it is a great self esteem booster to have one’s praises sung in public. Doesn’t hurt the libido, either – which is what we’re going for here!

6. Telephone. Sure, it’s old-school, but sometimes, it’s just what the doctor ordered. The ability to hear your lover in real-time, with no delays, jitter, or dropped packets can be very refreshing. Call her up and let them know exactly what you’d like to do with her when you get home. Or, call him up and tell him about your underwear.

7. Voicemail. If your lover works in an office, you can call the switchboard and ask the receptionist to transfer you directly to their voicemail, rather than ringing their extension. This way, you can leave them a surprise message – be sure to preface it with “Darling, please make sure your speakerphone is off”!

8. Email. Even those of us without mobile phones have access to email, and this can be put to great use in the flirting game. Guidelines involve not using corporate email accounts for naughty exchanges (get a gmail account – it’s free, already!), and remembering to be careful about sending incriminating photos. Underwear shots are great, as long as your face isn’t visible.

9. Video. The availability of video recording technology such as camcorders, cell phones, and webcams means that it’s easier than ever to create a visual delight for your lover. This can be a lot of fun, especially because it’s so very ‘naughty’. You know what makes your lover tick, so include those things in your video. As with other forms of electronic flirting, it’s very important that you ensure the privacy of your material: no faces or identifiable markings such as tattoos; don’t use workplace networks to send private files (most log everything, and copies can be made for auditors or investigators upon request); and make sure that your personal computer is secure, both from outside penetration (hur, hur) as well as from family members (especially children, for heaven’s sake!). I would suggest getting PGP encryption keys and using them to lock all your private files.

10. Hack one of those roadside construction signs with the big digital displays. Replace the warning message about the bridge washing out or whatever with something that tells passersby how amazing awesome your lover is. You have fewer characters than Twitter, here – so use shorthand! And wear gloves so you don’t leave fingerprints, ok? I’m just sayin’…

As with all types of flirting, it’s important to remember that the most effective methods will employ your lover’s Love Language. Once you have that figured out, technology and gadgets can really help you push those buttons!

Eryn-Faye’s note: Ladies, for what it’s worth, underwear seems to be a consistent theme!

Missing the woman I fell in love with

By Josh Lerman on parenting.com

Tue April 7, 2009


(Parenting.com) — My wife and I share a home and a bed. We kiss goodbye in the morning and hello in the evening with such ritualistic regularity that if one of them somehow gets missed, I worry it means bad luck.

We have a marriage in which we tell each other things, without large, dramatic fights, a marriage that in our affection and respect for each other seems awfully good in comparison to those of most of our friends.

But somehow in the past ten years or so since our first daughter was born, in the mad swirl of breastfeeding and colic, of Pull-Ups and wipes, dinners and playdates, car repairs and sweeping, versions of each other that we used to take for granted — versions of our relationship — have gone missing.

Christina and I met around 20 years ago. The friend of a friend of one of my college roommates, she appeared to me first at a party a few weeks after graduation. I thought she was gorgeous, and remember standing in the kitchen talking to her, trying to make her laugh.

She left the party early, and I later heard she’d gone off to Europe. There was a boyfriend.

But through the coincidences of social life in a big city, I ended up living with a high school friend of hers, while she returned to New York to work in the same office as another friend of mine from college. We became part of each other’s circle of friends.

Over the next year or two, as we spent time with each other on a semi-regular basis, our banter became more flirtatious, and I finally asked what she was doing Friday night. She answered “Something with you,” and we’ve been together ever since.

What I remember most about our first years together was our laughter. We giggled in bed at night and over the course of long weekend mornings, lying on our backs, legs draped across each other’s legs. Shameless hilarity in restaurants, malls, on the sidewalk — a private world of absurdity and delight, in love with the ridiculousness of the world and each other.

We moved in together, married, and bought an apartment. Jobs gotten and lost, money pressures, depression, a relative’s drinking problem, fertility issues — the stuff of adult life — all pounded at us but ultimately pushed us closer. At last we became parents together, sharing the shocking face-smack of responsibility and obligation that comes with the precarious-seeming beauty of infancy.

Of course we were still silly together — it’s who we were — but there was less time, less energy. Christina’s body, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and even after, it seemed, was owned by our daughter Olivia. The baby was lavished with affection, but maybe not husband and wife so much.

The baby was tickled and sung to and spoken nonsense to and made to laugh, but maybe not the husband and wife so much.

A new job, more fertility trials, the dehumanizing infinity of adoption paperwork capped by waiting, waiting, and finally our baby, a second daughter, Lucy. Our life continued, almost on autopilot.

The children grow and their needs change. They must be fed, the mortgage paid, the sidewalk shoveled, bedtimes enforced. The obligations — to the preschool, the PTA, my job, Christina’s work, Olivia’s preposterously plentiful homework — are a constant, staticky background to our lives.

My wife and I support each other, can count on the other, and on random weekends away can recapture flashes of that old lightheartedness.

And there are new shared pleasures: looking at each other in baffled rapture at the half-wit brilliance of 4-year-old Lucy explaining “how they make grass”; beaming with outsize pride at 9-year-old Olivia’s dance-recital seriousness and grace; witnessing a spontaneous, unexpected gesture of affection from an older sister to a younger. And the attempted mom-dad hugs in the kitchen dissolving into four-headed laughing kiss-fests.

But it’s too little, too fleeting. We spend so much of our lives passing each other on the way somewhere. Me on the way to see whether the sudden, eerie silence from the girls’ room is Lucy scaling her dresser like a climbing wall (it is). Christina on the way to the basement to put the laundry in the dryer because no, I have to admit, it wouldn’t occur to me to do it on my own.

Our bedtimes drift apart — Christina’s closer to the girls’, mine later toward a precious hour or two of private, need-free quiet time listening to music, reading, or watching bad TV.

What’s gone is the pure selfishness that brought us together. Something that belonged only to us, that was unique to us and part of us, has gotten lost.

But isn’t this what happens in life — that what I remember was a time, not a thing, and we can no more recapture those versions of ourselves than we can travel to ancient Rome? That a normal part of becoming an adult, of raising a family together, is leaving behind treasured swaths of the love affair that got us here — the mindless lust, the inside jokes, the laughter? Perhaps. But even so, selfish though it may be, I miss my wife.

So we must build on what we had — what we still have. We’re different people now, in different lives. We’ve changed, and so our love must change. The problem isn’t really that something is lost. It’s that we’ve been looking in the wrong direction, sitting there waiting for something to materialize instead of getting up and making it ourselves.

We’ll have to try a little harder to see past the day-to-day. If I do, I’ll find my wife — she’s in the basement taking stuff out of the dryer.

And if she can postpone bedtime for just a few minutes (please!), she’ll find me down in the living room watching bad TV. I can’t tell you how easy it would be to get me to turn that damn thing off.

By Josh Lerman

Copyright 2009 The Parenting Group. All rights reserved.  Read the original article here.

And read Eryn-Faye’s response to this article in her blog, then share your thoughts too!

Rediscovering Passion

There is not one particular thing that I can point at and say that’s the one, that’s the one that turned my sex life around.

It is such a complicated journey from the first years of marriage and the lust and laughter that surrounds it, to child birth and motherhood, to the loss of your libido then your self esteem and finally your self worth.

I have tried many things to recapture, recreate, reactivate and rejuvenate my sex life in my marriage and all of them had failed miserably before I met Eryn-Faye. She has helped me open my heart and my head to new possibilities.

Eryn Faye’s guidance and ability to listen and relate makes you feel that you are not alone. There is no lonelier place for a women then her side of the bed when the lights go out and she knows her husband is once again disappointed with her lack of wanting.

Think passion for this man, feel passion even if it is forced at first, and get excited, that’s where a Passion Coach came in for me. Get excited, motivated and act and if you follow through, your sex life will be renewed.

I can still see my husband face when I walked in the door after one meeting with Eryn-Faye. It was like we were 25 again!

~ Post-Menopausal Woman