Ways to Heal After your Partner has Cheated

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7 Ways to Get Your Husband to Talk More

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15 Ways to Respond to Criticism

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25 Topics to Discuss Before Kids

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17 Ways to Connect with Teenagers

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17 Ways to Impress the In-Laws

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Ways to Propose

Asking the person you love to marry you is one of the biggest moments of your life. You want it to be perfect and memorable.

1. Your Personality. When planning the way to propose to the love of your life, make sure it matches both of you. If you hate rock music, don’t propose at a rock concert. Brainstorm all the places you both love (water, mountains, cabins, movies, restaurants, gyms, trees, churches, anything), and now you have a list of place to propose. The location should match both of you to make it more meaningful.

2. Ask her. “What would be your dream proposal?” There is absolutely NO shame in asking this question. It shows that you are interested and care, and it’s not like you haven’t been talking about the possibility of marriage already. If she gives you a detailed depiction of her dream proposal, you have a great foundation! If she’s vague, try to get details about the following: Would she want it to just be the two of you? Or in a big stadium full of strangers? intimate dinner with friends? parents? family? The worst thing you can do is ask her in a crowded restaurant full of strangers when in her heart she always imagined it being an intimate and romantic private event by candlelight in the woods. If you ask how she (or he) wants it, you’ll have better chances of pleasing and providing the perfect proposal.

3. Permission? You better find out if she wants you to ask her father or mother for their blessing, or “her hand in marriage,” or their permission – however some people phrase it these days. This was very important to my best friend, but it would have mortified me to have my husband ask my dad for permission (as if I’m a piece of property that he owns? I don’t think so!). Every individual, even within families, may feel differently about this tradition. Find out!

4. Practice. Yes, practice. You’re going to be nervous and excited, and you want your speech about how much you love her to be coherent. So practice. It will relieve a little anxiety when it comes time to perform for real.

5. Message in a Bottle. If your woman is a sucker for chick flicks, she will love this one! Write the sweetest love letter you can think of. Write it by hand, and write it to “My love” and sign it “Your Love” (or something else that doesn’t give away hers or your identity). Say all the sweet things you can think of. Soak the paper in coffee, let it dry, and carefully burn the edges. This will give it that old and rustic but romantic look. Select a bottle that represents something special (her favorite soda, wine, beer, hard liquor, etc). Carefully roll up the letter into the bottle and seal it tight (use melted wax if you need to make sure it doesn’t leak). Choose a location with water (river, creek, pond, lake, ocean, anything!). Arrange for a friend to deliver the bottle to a predetermined location right before your arrival. Now take your sweetie there after a nice romantic activity (dinner, hiking, whatever you both like). Walk to where the bottle is. Let her find it. Even if it means hanging around the area for a little while. Don’t even give any hints. She will find it. Let her open it. Ask her to read it out loud. When she’s done, get down on one knee (even if it’s muddy) and give her your heart. Tell her all the reasons you love her and why you want to spend the rest of your life with her. Break out the ring and ask her.

6. It’s TIME. Has your partner been nagging a little bit? Has she mentioned how it’s time to get married – you’ve been together for so long. Is her “biological clock” ticking? 🙂 If so, then this may be the perfect way to ask. By hand, write her the sweetest love letter – all the reasons you love her, why she is so amazing, how your life is better because of her. Sign it. And write, P.S. I suppose it’s time. Fold it up (tie it with a ribbon of her favorite color for a special touch). Grab a clock in your house, pull out the batteries, and replace them with the letter. Tell her you can’t figure out why the clock isn’t working, and you think it might be the batteries. Ask her if she’ll take a look at it for you (because she’s so smart and helpful) and leave the room (if she says she’ll look at it). In the other room, have her favorite song ready to play on your radio or stereo. When you can hear that she has read your letter, turn her song on and come out (or just turn it on when she comes into the room). Get down on one knee and start pouring your heart out to her. Break out the ring and ask her. *If you want to do something bigger, make reservation at her favorite restaurant for dinner afterwards, and you can even arrange for a limo to take you.

7. You can sing. Can you sing? Has your parnter always wanted you to write a song for her? Do it. Write the song, take her somewhere special…and let the last words of the song be – Will you Marry me?

8. Crazy for you. Does your partner have a passion for or degrees in psychology, counseling, social work, or any other field where she works to diagnose people? If so, this may be the perfect proposal idea for you. Purchase a DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic Manual) (this will be the spendy part as they are around $40, but it will be a lifelong keepsake). Cut out a square in the book (in the pages) big enough for your ring or the box for the ring. Now, think of when and where you’d like to propose (see above), and when you do – finish with, “I am crazy for you.” Hand her the book, let her open it, and ask her to marry you!! It will be a fantastic story to share with her friends and family, and you can keep the book and the box as a wonderful keepsake.

9. Video down memory lane. This is a very romantic, thoughtful, and impressive way to propose that leaves you both with a remarkable keepsake. Obtain a video camera, and start going down memory lane. If you have the editing equipment, you can be a little more flexible in your filming. If you don’t, plan it out well. Start with the place you first met, your first date, and any other significant locations and places. At each place, put yourself in front of the camera and reminisce about your memories with your loved one. Once you’ve finished filming, add some music to it if you’d like or any other special touches. Now, how you present it is up to you. You can make this a private or public event (see above). For a private event, if you guys are very chill and just like to stay in and watch movies – pop some popcorn and pop it in. When it’s over, get on bended knee and do your thing. If you have a more outgoing and public personality, try to arrange for a local movie theater (with DVD projection capabilities) to make a special showing for you (maybe after midnight or during a really slow time). Invite all your friends and family to be there. Show up late, so she can’t see who’s in the movie theater. When it starts showing, she’s going to love it. When it’s over, arrange for the medium lights to go on, get on bended knee and do your thing. This will be a memorable event for a lifetime. Whether you do it privately or publicly, it will be something you will both have and remember forever.

10. Poster. Does your partner like posters?  If so, your proposal can be a poster she’ll never want to lose.  Select a picture of the two of you and design a poster.  You can do this in Microsoft PowerPoint pretty easily.  (Just go to help and find out how).  Be as creative or as simple as you’d like.  You can include just the picture and the words, “Will you marry me?”  Or you can include a quote, poem, your own words saying how much you love her, multiple pictures, graphic designs, etc.  Just design it from your heart.  You can go to Kinko’s and get them to print it for you (depending on size, it can cost around $50 – $100) and then get it framed. Based on whether you want to propose privately or publicly, you can present this poster to her in a variety of ways.  You can hang it up in a main room where she lives, cover it up, and present it to her after a fun evening or date.  Or you can call some local galleries and ask for their help.  You’d be surprised how helpful people will be when they hear you are going to propose.  If a gallery will help (and she would enjoy a public proposal), invite all of her friends and family to the gallery (without her knowing it), and take her out on an amazing date.  End with the gallery (time it out perfectly) and have your poster (or painting) in the back.  When you get there, she’ll see all her friends and family and get very suspicious.  Reveal your work, get down on bended knee, tell her lots of sweet and lovely thing, and ask her to marry you.  And now the two of you will have a beautiful keepsake to remind you of this exciting time in your life.


11. How you met.  How did you meet?  Meeting your loved one is what started it all, and incorporating how you met into your proposal is a meaningful move.  You can incorporate it however you want – propose at the location, have an egagement party there after you propose, have the friend who introduced you help, order the same food, etc.  Get creative!


*I’ll continue adding as I think of them. Good luck!

37 Rules to Fighting Fair

Thousands of people have written about fighting fair.  Here’s a compilation of some fair fighting rules.  Resources are available at the bottom.  All partners and couples engage in conflict, but the key is resolving conflict without being destructive.

Couple Fighting

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to Fighting Fair.  I suggest copying and pasting it to a word document, then add and substract to tailor it to you, and print off a couple copies (one for you, and one for your partner).  When you start really getting into it, both of you should have these near you to remind yourself of how to fight FAIR!


1. Deal with the Here and Now.  What is the specific problem right now?  Anything older than 24 hours is garbage, so no garbage-dumping!

2. Take responsibility. Use “I” statements as a way to show you are taking responsibility for your own feelings and actions.

3. Be direct and honest about your feelings and what you want.

4. Listen and hear! Try to deal with the other person’s perceptions of the situation as well as your own. Be aware of his/her feelings as well as your own. Check to see whether what you heard is really what the other person is trying to express, and ask him to let you know what she hears you saying.

5. Give the other person equal time. Both people need to express their feelings and points of view to create a full mutual understanding.

6. Attack the issue, not the person. Name-calling puts people in a position to respond angrily and defensively. This is usually used when a person feels he is losing. Name-calling breaks down communication and destroys trust in the relationship.

7. Take a breather by paraphrasing what you think you  heard them saying. “I understand you want to tell me about your day but I need a few minutes to finish what I am doing.” This gives you time to think about your response.

8. Focus on solving a problem/reaching a solution rather than venting your anger or winning a victory. Think win-win.

9. Deal with one issue at a time. No fair piling several complaints into one session. Some people call this “kitchen-sinking” – talking about everything including the kitchen sink!

10. Limit your discussion/fight to no more than 30 minutes. Adults have relatively short attention spans – just look at television programming to confirm this. Long drawn out discussions/fights rarely reach resolution. Instead they just wear the participants out. And when you are worn out, the potential of saying or doing something you’ll regret is much greater. If you are unable to solve your problem in the 30 minutes that you’ve allotted, schedule another time to continue.

11. Brainstorm solutions. Be willing to compromise. Give a little to get a little.

12. Go forth as equals. Don’t use power plays. Gauge the intensity of your anger to the ego strengths of the other person and be responsible with the things your mate has entrusted to you in your relationship. YOU ARE ON THE SAME TEAM.

13. When necessary, take a time-out. A time-out is a short break to cool off, calm down and get perspective. Think of it like pushing the pause button on a video. It’s an opportunity to restore calm and be more reflective instead of reactive. Use the time-out to reflect on why you feel the way you do and how to express yourself in a positive way. Try to think about the other person’s feelings and point of view. Think things through before you speak. Then “push play” again and return to each other to resolve the issues calmly.  A time-out should be at least a half-hour long (but no longer than twenty-four hours). It takes at least a half-hour for your body’s physiology to return to a normal resting state and for your thoughts to become less hostile or defensive. It’s surprising how different a person’s outlook can be after they’ve had a chance to calm down.

14. Give each other the ability to withdraw or change their mind.

15. Speak softly.  If you and your partner have a natural tendency to raise your voice, try whispering.

16. Identify and Define your issue or topic, and stick to it!  Don’t change the subject or bring in unrelated items.  If you have a different item you’d like discuss, save it for the next discussion.

17. Hold hands. (We are not fighting each other, but talking over a problem we are mutually trying to resolve. )

18. Ask questions that will clarify, not judge. A question should never begin with the word “why.” That puts people on the defensive — and we know that defensiveness stops conversation rather than continues it.



1. Don’t Refer to past mistakes and incidences.  No garbage-dumping! 🙂

2. Don’t Blame. Use “I” statements rather than “you” statements which automatically blame, making the other person defensive.

3. Don’t make comparisons to other people, stereotypes, or situations.

4. Don’t play games.  A game is being played when you are not being straight about your feelings, and when you are not being direct and honest about what you want or need in a situation.  Examples of games are; poor me; silent treatment; martyr; don’t touch me; uproar; kick me; if it weren’t for you…; yes, but…; see what you made me do; and if you loved me…

5. Don’t involve other people’s opinions of the situation (e.g.: “John’s mother agrees with me.”) The only opinions which are relevant are those of the two attempting to communicate at the time.

6. Don’t make threats (e.g., “Do this or else!”). Threats back people into a corner and they may choose the ultimatum in order to save face. You may find later you really do not want to carry out your threat.

7. Don’t demand to win. If you do, your discussion will surely become an argument.

8. Don’t say “always” and “never”.  (“You always…”  “You never…”) These are usually exaggerations and will put the other person on the defensive.

9. Don’t interrupt, talk over or make comments while the other person is speaking. Watch your non-verbal expressions too. Rolling eyes, smirking, yawning etc. all work against fair fighting.

10. Don’t walk away or leave the house without saying to your partner, “I’ll be back”.

11. No finger pointing.

12. Don’t save up feelings and dump them all at once, try to air feelings often.

13. Try not to yell.

14. No talk of Divorce. In the heat of an argument, threatening to leave the relationship is manipulative and hurtful. It creates anxiety about being abandoned and undermines your ability to resolve your issues. It quickly erodes your partner’s confidence in your commitment to the relationship. Trust is not easily restored once it is broken in this way. It makes the problems in your relationship seem much bigger than they need to be.

13. Don’t read your partner’s mind.

14. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind.

15. Don’t use the following: swearing, denunciation, obscenities, character assassination, contempt, sarcasm, or taunting.

16. Do not assume, guess, imagine, take for granted, theorize, surmise, speculate, make gestures, judgments, funny glances or faces about what your partner means. Find out!

17. No belittling each other’s accomplishments. No matter how small or odd they may be.

18. Don’t be afraid to apologize when you are wrong. It shows you are trying.

19. Don’t argue about details. Avoid exchanges like, “You were 20 minutes late,” “No, I was only 13 minutes late.” (An easy way to distract from the problem.)



Fair Fighting Rules: A Formula for Resolving Conflict

Fair Fighting: Turning Arguments into Discussions

Stay Happily Married: Fair Fight Rules

Crisis Center: Fair Fight Rules

Fair Fighting Rules for Couples

Dr. Irene’s Blog – Fair Fighting from Wayne Misner

Technique for Safely Bring Up a Problem

9 Ways to maintain long-distance friendships

Whether you met in high school, college, or some other time in life – chances are high that distance will come between you and some of your closest and dearest friends. How are we supposed to maintain long-distance friendships? Some people find it difficult enough to maintain friendships with people in the same town.  So how are we supposed to survive hundreds of miles?

The truth is that it isn’t easy. And that’s okay…if you’re willing to put in a little effort occasionally. And that effort might pay off tenfold if: you suddenly live in the same area, you get married, you get divorced, you have children, you travel through their town, or if you just want to maintain that friendship because it’s important to you.

Ways to maintain long-distance friendships

1. Commit. Just like in a romantic relationship, friendships require commitment. If you’re not willing to make the commitment to stay connected to someone you care about, then simply put – you won’t.

2. Variety. Myspace. Facebook. E-mail. Texting. Calling. There are a variety of ways to stay connect, so there is no excuse not to! The better the friend, the more variety in their ways to connect to you. If you are only using myspace to stay connected to your best friend, chances are that you probably won’t be best friends for very long. It’s important to hear their voice! So use a variety of methods.

3. Driving. I hate people who talk on their cell phone and drive!! But I’m guilty. It’s my main way of staying connected to my best friends. If it’s going to take me 20 minutes to get home, I might as well do something positive on the way there. Headsets are a great idea, and don’t be afraid to say – “hold on” when your driving requires some more attention. And please don’t hit me with your car. Thank You.

4. Memory. While your friend is telling you all about her experiences with new friends, people, and work – it’s likely that you won’t know any of these people. Trying to keep everybody and everything straight can be a challenge. What’s a solution? Write it down. You will need to work extra hard to remember what your friend is saying because you’ll have no other personal connection to it all. Remembering the details and the people’s names is a great way to show your friend that you care and you are paying attention. Need some help remember?

5. Notebook. Grab a spiral notebook while you’re chatting on the phone (NOT while you’re driving!) and jot down the important stuff – people places, etc. Glance over it again to refresh your memory before calling or writing your friend. Little details make a big difference.

6. Plan a yearly trip. Even if you’re both broke, plan a trip together every year (more if you have the funds to do so). Make it an annual thing and take lots of pictures. You can go to your friends place, your friend can come see you, or you can both go somewhere else together. Bring spouses and partners if you want, but warn them that it’s going to be a lot of “catching up” and it could get boring for others.

7. Snail mail. Sending things in the mail may be a thing of the past, but if you don’t want your friendship to ALSO be a thing of the past, it’s time you figured out how to mail things. Yes, there are stamps involved. The post office can help you, but be prepared to wait in line and deal with cranky people. What can you send your friend? Anything! A note, postcard, letter, picture, book, cd, anything!

8. Their friends. Your friend will make new friends. Be ready to accept that, and even more importantly – get to know them! Meet them, write them, talk to them. These people surround your friend’s life. If you are even just casual friends with the new friends, you will stay closer. If they want to surprise your friend, or if your friend really needs help – these new people will know they can count on you. And so will your friend.

9. The bad stuff. When you experience something bad – whether it’s a bad day, or just a bad moment (feeling lonely, sad, angry, etc) call your friend. That’s what friends are for. Don’t think that just because it’s a long distance friendship that you can only share the good stuff. Great friends are there for the good AND the bad. So be sure to call when you need someone to talk to.

Here’s some more good info:

eHOW – How to maintain a long distance friendship

Friends and Friendship

10 Ways to cope with missing a funeral

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