Relationships, PART TWO (of a 3-Part Series): Marriage
If you’re one of the hundreds of new daily visitors to BeHappy101.com or a new subscriber to this BeHappy! Newsletter... welcome aboard!
I’m Jimmy, and my mission is to improve your life dramatically by making it a bit happier - or, better yet, a lot happier - everyday.
I am a doctor, corporate executive, entrepreneur, author, and speaker. My wife (Jill), our six-year-old daughter (Joie), and our three-year-old daughter (Jae) live in Tampa Florida and Newport Beach California.
Through this newsletter, my website, my books, E-Coaching, and other BeHappy! products, I am committed to improving the lives of as many people as possible. So, I would love to hear from you on how your life has changed by using the BeHappy! system, or how I can help improve your life more by making the system even better. Just click here to contact me and I’ll respond to you personally as soon as possible – or just give me your happiness tips, comments, suggestions, stories, or thoughts to share with others.
Here’s to your happiness and to having the kind of life you want to have!
BeHappy! my friends
|Inside this Issue|
Introduction to The BeHappy! Newsletter
(for new subscribers)
Follow Up to the Last Edition’s “Actions”
Relationships – Part Two: A Happy Marriage
Actions for the Next 60 Days to BeHappy!
What's New at BeHappy101.com
INTRODUCTION for new subscribers
(prior subscribers – skip down to the “Happiness Facts” section)
The purpose of this newsletter is to provide a regular and consistent supplement to the action-oriented process found within my website - www.behappy101.com - and in my book, BeHappy!
It is intended to make a powerful contribution to the amount of joy and fulfillment in your daily life by providing regular tools, reminders, and strategies to:
This is far beyond a “How To” concept. It is rather a “Do” system, which, when used in conjunction with the BeHappy! book and The Happiness Academy (coming in 2013), helps create your own personal “Happiness Plan” for your life. If you want a template or “blueprint” for this Happiness Plan, click here and you can get it free.
Since my goal is to help make people happier, however, it is best to get the book, BeHappy! to use along with the website to achieve maximum benefit from the plan (yes, that’s partly a sales pitch — but it’s true).
Get it now through Amazon.com
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- Due to jobs, kids, TV, the Internet, hobbies, and home and family responsibilities, the average married couple spends just four minutes a day alone together.
- The average married couple has sex 58 times per year, or slightly more than once a week, but 20% of married couples have sex less than 10 times per year after two years of marriage.
- In the United States, over 50% of first marriages end in divorce, 67% of second marriages end in divorce, and nearly 74% of third marriages end in divorce.
- Marriage does more to promote life satisfaction than money, sex, or even children, according to some psychologists.
Follow Up from the Last Edition of
The BeHappy! Newsletter
The last edition of The BeHappy! Newsletter in October – which was Part 1 of this “mini” relationship series – included:
- An introduction to the concept of a “relationship happiness loop”, which basically suggests that it is not only true that great relationships improve the quality of our lives and make us happier, but also (and even more importantly, in my opinion) that being happy results in better, more fulfilling, passionate, and close relationships.
- This happiness loop is in effect with all types of relationships, whether it’s a serious romantic relationship (including marriage), a friendship, family, or business relationship, or even if you are looking for that perfect person who can share the rest of your life with you.
Did you do the "relationship" exercise in the October edition of the newsletter? Did you create your “relationship list”? Do you have a clear picture of your life’s relationship status? If so, how is it?
Happiness Product of the Month
Save Your Marriage
This month’s product is designed for those having marriage problems – even if it is headed for divorce. It has helped many couples.
So, if you are married and did the exercise from the last edition of the BeHappy! Newsletter (see the follow up section to the left) and you listed the relationship with your spouse as anything less than a “6” - or especially if you described it as “poor” or “toxic” - then please check this “marriage saver” out by clicking here. It couldn’t hurt.
Do you have many important relationships? Regarding those relationships, are they great, close, fulfilling relationships, or are they not that great – or perhaps even toxic in some cases?
If they are mostly positive and fulfilling, but you just want to make them even better or take them to the next level, that’s awesome. And if one of those relationships is your marriage (or one that will soon become a marriage), this edition of the newsletter will help since it is focused on creating a happier marriage. The next edition of the newsletter in mid-February (Part 3 of this relationship series) will help for your other relationships (dating, friend, family, and others).
If, however, your relationships are not very positive and fulfilling – and especially if some of your most important relationships are not very good, then, in addition to these newsletter strategies, you may need some additional help in the area of relationships. I’ll get to that additional help a bit in the “action” section below, and then even more in the next edition.
Now, though, on to the topic for this edition of The BeHappy! Newsletter...
Relationships - Part Two
A "Happy Marriage"
The box to the right provides a dictionary definition of marriage. For most people, though, marriage is so much more than a “union” and a “piece of paper”. Marriage, in many ways, can be considered one of the most important and significant relationships possible between two people. At a minimum, it is an intimate relationship which signifies a loving, long-term, and total commitment between two people. Traditionally, that long-term commitment has meant a life-long commitment.
A Dictionary Definition of Marriage:
The state of being united to a person as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.
Unfortunately, in our society today, most marriages end in divorce, and for those that do survive, a certain percentage (perhaps a relatively large percentage) are not as positive, loving, passionate, and committed as possible.
Why is this?
Well, there are many, many reasons, but that’s for a much deeper discussion. Basically though, in my opinion, one of the main reasons is what was discussed in the last issue of the newsletter – happiness.
I know that is overly simplistic – and it is certainly much more than that. The point is that if you want any chance to have a “happy marriage”, both people in the relationship must be happy to start.
As an example, one of the most common causes of marital problems relates to money. In fact, money (both the lack of money and an over-abundance of money) has probably been the underlying cause of many divorces. Why? Because in either case, one or both of the people in the marriage can be “unhappy” because of their financial situation.
With a lack of money – stress, disappointment, frustration, and even depression can create unhappiness for the couple. With an abundance of money, people can begin to feel a sense of superiority or invincibility and can become discontent or bored (“unhappy”) and start to want more variety in their life.
Again, this is greatly over-simplified, but the point is that if the two people in a marriage are not “happy”, the relationship can be strained and the couple can begin to drift apart. This can then start a “downward spiral” in the marriage which can be difficult to turn around.
|Sex and Marriage|
As you may have read in the “Happiness Facts” at the beginning of this newsletter, married couples have sex an average of 58 times per year (about once a week) but 20% of married couples (1 out of 5 couples) only have sex about once a month or less. Also, couples with children only spend about 4 minutes a day alone with each other.
For most married couples, sex is an important part of the relationship. It certainly is one of the ultimate expressions of love and intimacy. So, if there is either no time for sex or if, for some reason, sex has become limited or unpleasant, the marriage could be in jeopardy.
If you have an issue with sex in your marriage, this is another area where you should seek help. There are many resources available to improve your sex life. As a start, you may want to check out the links here:
Take communication, for example. Many people would say that a happy marriage requires great communication - which is certainly true. Again, I say that great communication is most likely (and most productive) if both people in the marriage are open, happy, and committed to working on the relationship everyday. Unhappy people generally are not open and don't communicate well. Obviously it is much more complicated than this. Much more complicated … way too complicated to get into fully in this brief newsletter. So, if you want to explore it further, check out some of the “additional resources” links at the end of this edition of the newsletter to get some extra thoughts and tips on how to have a “happy marriage”.
Before you do that, though, here are some general tips and strategies about marriage and how to make it happier and more passionate and fulfilling. Also, make sure to follow through with the recommended actions below - in the "Actions" section - to get your marriage on the right track (if it’s “off-track”) or help take it to the next level of happiness and fulfillment if that’s more the situation for what you want and need.
Arguing is not necessarily bad: Many people feel conflict is bad in a marriage. In fact, the opposite is true (as long as it's healthy conflict) since in reality if you are not arguing with your spouse at times, you are probably not discussing important life issues.
Commitment is a key first step: Commitment is a scary concept (especially - and perhaps stereotypically - more scary for men than women). As basic and common sense sounding as it is, though, both people in a marriage must be absolutely committed to making it work. If there is any lack of commitment on either side, "when the going gets tough", things start falling apart.
Consistent affirmation is key: A happy marriage requires consistent and meaningful positive affirmation both ways (and believe it or not, it seems men need it more than women). Again, it must also be consistent. It can be as simple as saying "I love you" on a regular basis, helping out with the chores or the kids, commenting on how nice your spouse looks, or having regular, special time alone together.
"Rules" are the basis for all conflict: As discussed before, everyone has different rules, and if your rules are significantly different from your spouse's rules - and especially if they are important rules to each of you - that's a big problem. This is one of the first places to start (after commitment) to help improve a marriage (or any relationship for that matter). As an extreme example, if your rule is that monogamy is essential in a marriage, but your spouse has a rule that allows for occasional deviations from monogamy in marriage - the relationship is not likely to last forever (see the action section below for more about rules).
It is better to be happy than right: Going back to the previous concept about rules, since everyone has different rules (including all married couples) the key to a happy marriage is to "back off" from your rules, reduce your commitment to "being right" and remember your more important commitment to your spouse and the marriage. You may "know" you are "right" about a particular issue, but if it creates significant problems in the relationship, isn't it better to "let it go" for the sake of the marriage? I'm not saying this is easy - because many times it isn't. People innately want to be right. Just remember what's more important in life, and if you feel it is more important to be "right", then maybe you do have serious problems in your marriage (see "Additional Resources" below).
So, now it’s time to take action with some initial steps toward making your marriage as happy as you want.
BeHappy! ACTIONS TO TAKE UNTIL THE NEXT ISSUE OF THIS NEWSLETTER
Like everything in life, the old saying, “practice makes perfect” applies to happiness, too. By using the tools and concepts in the book, BeHappy! - and applying the principles found at BeHappy101.com and in this bi-monthly newsletter - you'll get the coaching and the “practice” you need to lead the happiest possible life.
It takes daily action to get “perfect” at it, though.
So, if you have read previous editions of The BeHappy! Newsletter you know that every issue provides some simple action-oriented exercises for the next two months (until the next edition of the newsletter) which relate to the main subject of this edition of the newsletter to help make happiness a habit.
Just a few minutes of focus every day and you’ll be laying the foundation for the happiest possible life - both for yourself and for those you love.
If you do these things, I can promise you’ll notice a big difference in the quality of your life.
You will BeHappy!
Actions for the next 60 days:
Take these actions over the next sixty days and by the time you receive the next edition of the BeHappy! Newsletter (around mid-February), you should be seeing some positive effects on your marriage and, if your relationship is in jeopardy - possibly feeling a bit better about it.
Actions to Take:
- Create a new "commitment" to your marriage. Regardless of the status of your marriage, it's always good to acknowledge your commitment to your spouse and reinforce your ongoing love and appreciation for them and the relationship. This may not be easy if your marriage is in trouble. In fact, you may think it's impossible. Especially in this type of situation, if you want the marriage to work - and you want it to be happy - get creative. Find a way to get into a conversation about commitment and the plan for a lifelong marriage. Remember, commitment is the first step ... so Action #1 is to renew that commitment together.
- Write down (1) your rules and (2) your perception of your spouse's rules - especially tnose which cause the most conflict. This will change your marriage tremendously if you have "rules issues" and take this action. This one exercise can make the difference between a happy, life-long marriage and one that ends in divorce. Different rules about money, raising children, monogamy, roles and responsibilities, sex, decision-making, and family and social issue are all areas which can cause a marriage to fail. Go back to the February 2012 edition of the BeHappy! Newsletter to read a bit more about changing your rules to improve your relationships. You can also go to the Rules section of BeHappy101.com for some general advice on changing your rules. Action #2, therefore, is to make this list of rules, find a way to change your rules, and then discuss them with your spouse.
- Create an "aggressive" sex plan. I know, this sounds both strange (not spontaneous) and perhaps a bit "inappropriate" for a happiness newsletter. Most married couples, however, consider sex to be an important part of their relationship. If sex is awesome, the marriage is typically much more passionate, fulfilling, and "viable" than if sex is boring, infrequent, or non-existent, which can lead to frustration, resentment, a lack of connection, and extramarital affairs. Also, as amazing as it may sound, research shows that sex is one of strongest and most positive creators of happiness in our society (even more than money in many studies), with the happiest people being those getting the most sex. So, even if it's difficult to talk about, create a sex plan with your spouse. If is is difficult, it's even more important to address it if you want to stay married for life. Do whatever it takes for Action #3, which is to basically create a "sex plan" (even if you have to schedule it at first).
Obviously, as I have stated several times, marriage is much more complex than this. These are just some basic action items for you to use as a starting point over the next 60 days to begin improving your marriage - or even saving it, if it is in a downward spiral. So, if you need more help or advice, please go the next step and check out the resources below.
Summary and Resources
A few of the important points about all this (as well as a few other tidbits of advice for a happy marriage) are:
- You and your spouse need to "be happy" if you expect to have the happiest marriage possible.
- Make a true commitment to the relationship and re-commit at times if necessary.
- Learn to value your spouse’s needs and desires as much as your own. Strive to meet each other’s needs, both emotional and physical.
- Understand your rules and your spouse's rules and make changes if required (they almost always need to be changed to some degree since we all have different rules).
- Communicate openly and regularly. This means not only talking over the events of the day but also sharing private thoughts and feelings. This is essential for both husband and wife... even if it’s difficult to do at first it will soon become an important part of your lives and something that both of you will look forward to.
- Commit yourselves to take care of one another in every way. Treat your spouse as a friend as well as a lover and provider.
- Appreciate, admire and respect each other and you’ll learn to accept petty annoyances.
- It's better to be happy than right, so whenever you're wrong, admit it – whenever you're "right", shut up.
- Have great, passionate, frequent sex.
It is important to know that I am not a marriage counselor or relationship expert. I just have a commitment to help you create your happiest possible life - and this involves many topics, including relationships. Importantly, therefore, if you have serious issues with your marriage or other areas of your life, please use the many resources available to everyone (some of which are listed below), including professional help if necessary.
- Professional Counseling: There are many professional counseling resources available in just about every area. Here at BeHappy101.com, The Neighborhood Shrink can provide professional advice on marriage and relationships.
- Courses and Other Sources of Information: I have mentioned a couple of resources in this edition of the newsletter. Here are a few specific recommendations related to marriage:
- Save the Marriage
- Better Sex
- 1000 Questions for Couples
- Save My Marriage Today
- The Magic of Making Up
- Articles here at BeHappy101.com: The Neighborhood Shrink has written a whole series of articles on marriage and relationships for BeHappy101.com. Click here to check out all his articles or see below for many of the most relevant ones:
WHAT'S NEW AT BeHappy101.com:
Every issue of this newsletter will keep you up to date on new stuff at BeHappy101.com so you can get maximum benefit from the BeHappy! system. You can access any of these quickly by just clicking on the links in the list below.
Here's what's new at BeHappy101.com:
And much, much more.
- A whole new structure will be coming to BeHappy101.com in the new year. I am putting the whole thing together now (it is a big task – in fact, I thought it would be done by now) and once the new structure is in place, there will be more information, a simpler navigation system, and the introduction of many new products and services intended to help you live your happiest possible life. You can "see me" building it by checking out a partially operational, only partly complete “sneak preview” of what the site will look like by clicking here. Remember, this is not fully operational and so many of the links don't yet work (some do) and most of the content is not yet there. It's just for you, one of my loyal subscribers, to see a bit of what's coming - and if you have any thoughts or opinions, let me know.
- A new video version of The BeHappy! Newsletter is in the works. I am in the process of assessing the technological capability to pull this off and am considering how it will be formatted. Look for this also in the new year (possibly).
- New Quotes & Poems
- The Happiness Academy...A complete 6-month "happiness course" which will transform your life (should be ready to go by March 2013). Just click on the red button here to check it out...
So until the next edition of The BeHappy! Newsletter around the middle of February...
Thanks for being a loyal subscriber and...
BeHappy! my friends
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