How Do You Determine the Health of Your Marriage?

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Many of us dream of a long and healthy marriage. But how do you know if your marriage is considered “healthy?”

Because each marriage is different and each couple values different things, it is hard to put a finger on exactly what makes a marriage healthy. The health of a marriage can be found in a number of different things. If you’re looking to determine if you’re in a healthy marriage or not, consider these possible indicators of a strong and healthy marriage.

1. You handle the bad times just as well as the good.

There is no such thing as a marriage without bad times. When you’re spending your life with someone else, things can happen that cause disagreements or hurdles in your marriage. A strong marriage isn’t measured by the absence of bad times, it’s all about how you handle them. If you approach the bad times as a team, determined to get through it, you probably have a healthy marriage.

2. You enjoy being around each other.

As a married couple, you spend a lot of time together. If you enjoy being next to one another and look forward to the time you share, you probably have a strong and healthy marriage. While it is normal to occasionally want some time apart, if you dread coming home to see your spouse, you may need to do some difficult thinking about your marriage.

3. You’re still having fun.

You should never stop having fun in a marriage. It is easy to grow tired of someone or become annoyed when you’re always around them, but when you focus on having fun, doing new things, and going on dates, you keep the marriage alive and exciting. If you and your spouse are always looking for new things to do in your city or new places to visit, you probably have a strong marriage. Other couples have just as much fun staying home renting movies, playing games, or just spending time together, which are all qualities of a strong marriage.

4. You work as a team.

A marriage is all about teamwork. While you and your spouse may decide that certain jobs are reserved for one or the other – the husband may have to kill the spiders while the wife is in charge of cooking dinner – teamwork is all about working towards one goal. If you can complete your separate jobs while remembering that each party is doing their job to ensure the house is clean, the children are taken care of, and there is food on the table, you could have a strong marriage.

5. You’re reaching your goals.

Some people believe that getting married means you need to put your life on hold. You’re no longer independent, which means you are not completely free to make decisions, accept jobs, or move to new cities. But in a strong marriage, you shouldn’t feel as if you are held back. You should feel supported and encouraged to go after your dreams with even more intensity. If you and your spouse are still working hard for your goals, you could have a strong marriage.

6. You feel happy.

When it comes down to it, feeling happy is one of the biggest indicators that you are in a healthy relationship. The desire to stay happy is what drives them to be with their spouse, to complete necessary tasks, and to encourage their husband or wife to keep moving forward toward their goals. In these situations, feelings are what shows a happy marriage.

These are just a few options of what a healthy marriage could mean to you. While some people may put a focus on happiness, others may think achieving goals and finding success together are what drives them towards as happy marriage. You may even find that your spouse has a different idea of a happy, healthy marriage. In this situation, you should create a compromise that allows both ideas to be recognized. After all, marriage is all about compromising and doing what you can to make your loved one happy!

There is no right or wrong identifier in determining if a marriage is healthy, but understanding what your overall goal for a happy marriage is can help you and your spouse reach there.

15 Ways to Calm a Fight

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No one enjoys fighting with their partner. The arguments and accusations are draining, and it can take hours – even days – to come down from the aftermath. Yet the fact remains simple: Every couple fights at some point or another. Yet how every couple handles conflict and deals with the tense, emotionally charged atmosphere packaged within disagreement says a lot about the relationship’s health.

It’s what marriage counsellors have dubbed “fighting fair,” a serious of relationship-focused techniques centered on keeping disagreements structured, tempers even, and words and emotions calm. The results? Decreased resentment and animosity, quicker conversation turnaround, and overall happiness boosts in partner communication and attraction. Bear a few in mind next time you and your partner are in a row and you’re looking to calm things down:

Take deep breaths. The trick is as old as time – or at least as old as neuroscientists proving the calming effects of deep, steady breathing. A deep breath will literally slow your physiological reactions down so you can think and speak clearer, diffusing the argument.

Hold hands. Even in the peak of heat arguing, holding hands brings a layer of intimacy and connection between the pair of you. It won’t solve any of the issues on the table, but it will soften the mood almost instantaneously.

Give compliments. This one can be tricky, but verbally recalling what you love about your partner goes a long way in moments when you only feel negatively toward them. Don’t be afraid to ask for a compliment or two in return!

Put on calm music. Music is one of the most well-researched methods of reducing stress. When your physical surroundings are telling your senses to bring it down a notch, your emotions will follow suit.

Do not interrupt. We repeat: Do NOT interrupt your partner. Nothing good comes when you’re repeatedly cutting off the other person. This will only make matters worse.

Never follow an apology with a “but…” Your partner will only hear what comes after, and it will feel like you’re throwing further jabs.

Cuddle. Similar to when you hold hands, your brain registers the enveloping touch as signs of warmth and protection – definitely a good way to start calming a fight!

Gently ask follow-up questions. Tone is everything during conflict. The way you say something oftentimes is more important than even what you’re even saying. Use diffusing question phrases, such as “Can you explain that a bit more?” or “Tell me how [blank] made you feel.” The gentle questions will make your partner feel listened to rather than attacked. Then ask them to use the same technique for you.

Apologize Even if you really, really don’t think you did anything wrong, you should always apologize for hurting the other person.

Paraphrase Repeating what you believe your partner is trying to express is another great gesture to make them feel heard. Doing so in steady and non-accusational tones works even better.

Do something comedic/ridiculous Laughter is an immediate de-stresser. If you can infuse a little humor into the situation, you will practically feel the tension breaking from the room and the argument beginning to heal.

Light a candle. Aromatherapy, either through candles or essential oils, signals your brain to relax due to the peaceful environment. For as odd as it sounds, marriage counselors often suggest couples air out grievances in softly lit, pleasant-smelling spaces to stimulate mental soothing agents.

Step outside. There’s a reason people listen to nature soundtracks in order to fall asleep. The outdoors can have a profound impact on our mood, positively stimulating neurons in our brain and awakening our five senses. Try stepping outside with your partner, taking a moment to feel the breeze, bask in sunlight, or walk in warm grass before picking up the conversation.

Take a structured break. So often walking away from a fight is portrayed as neglect or even defeat. Yet communicating when you need some space, and for how long, can be incredibly beneficial when clearing your head. Respect this in your partner if they ask for some time. They aren’t trying to dodge or deflect, they’re trying to re-center.

Say I love you. There’s nothing more potent in calming a fight then reminding your partner of your unconditional love.

Top Tips for Planning A Modern Jewish Destination Wedding

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You’re planning that big important date. You want it to be extraordinary. Having a local wedding just isn’t going to be enough for your special day. Here are some great tips on planning a modern Jewish destination wedding.

What is a “destination” wedding?

A “destination” wedding is a wedding that is held 100 or more miles away from where the bride actually resides. That is where a destination wedding can become complicated. However, the desired location is enough to turn the invited guests’ anticipation of the ceremony up about 100 notches.

Follow these tips and you’re on your way to having one of the most memorable ceremonies for you, your new spouse, and your guests.

Choose a Romantic Theme

You anticipate being married in a vineyard setting. That could mean making a beeline for Italy. However, it could also mean a vineyard in California or a posh resort resembling the Mediterranean style. Having a topic as a top priority makes it simpler to contract down choices and share your vision with the organizer.

Minimal Stress Travel

It’s not considerate or fair to ask your guests to spend countless hours traveling to attend your wedding. Make a log of where all of your intended guests are living. Once you’ve made a note of that, then you can start deciding on destinations for your ceremony.

Take Costs Into Careful Consideration

Everyone you invite to the wedding may not be financially stable as you (or they) wish they could be. Be on the lookout for resorts with fluctuating (hopefully lower) rates. You can also opt for other nearby less expensive hotels or resorts. Just do what you can to make everything financially feasible for your guests.

Use a Travel Planner

The advantage of having a travel planner is it frees up your time to plan other aspects of the wedding. It will also be helpful in figuring out who you can/want to invite. He/she will discuss contracts and more viable financial options to fit your budget and needs. The details of the wedding day will actually be handled by your chosen resort’s coordinator.

Greeting Your Guests With Hospitality Bags

It’s always a nice touch to welcome your guests to your ceremony in style. If the budget allows, have a hospitality bag waiting for them. Add bottled water (or 2 bottles), a couple of few salty snacks, and something sweet. Don’t forget to throw in the itinerary of the ceremony as well as driving instructions on how to get there.

Choosing Vendors

You could hire a local Rabbi to perform the ceremony. If you are closely connected with a Rabbi, just ask him to come with. For pay, of course. If you are not very familiar with the Rabbi, have several meetings before the actual ceremony. It could help you feel more at ease with the ceremony.

You should do your due diligence and check the local laws or any other requirements such as paperwork, etc.

Don’t forget about music. Inquire about local DJs in the area. Chances are they (the resort) might already have a disc jockey on payroll, which works out for you at the end of the day.

Be sure to hire a DJ that will play the Top 40 hit tunes or the golden oldies. You may even prefer to have the DJ only play romantic music. If it’s okay with everyone involved, then go for it. After all, this is your day!

Do you and your guests like karaoke? Karaoke is always a hit at parties and it’s hard to find people that actually don’t like it. This should go over well with your guests.

Plan to Eat Local

A good idea would be to plan on having food locally. It doesn’t have to be a mundane setting to be local. The important thing here is entertaining your guests and making sure everyone has options. Your friends and family came a long way to celebrate your day with you!

Show them that it means everything to you by being a good host/hostess. Set up a cocktail bar and a dessert stand. Offer finger foods and little cupcakes to keep your guests busy and mingling.

Good luck and have fun! Oh and by the way…congratulations!

Finding Religion, 10 Commandments of Judaism

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Faith and religion play an extremely important role in the lives of so many people all around the world. During a very critical time in my life, I found Judaism, which helped me gain a greater understanding of the world and get more meaning out of life.

Jewish people believe in the Torah, which is the whole of the laws given to the Israelites at Sinai. They believe they must follow God’s laws which govern daily life. There are a three basic groups of Jewish people who each have a different understanding of the interpretation of the Torah. I have been practicing Orthodox Judaism, which adheres to the interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah. Orthodox Jews believe that both the Torah and Oral Torah are authoritative and fixed regarding Jewish doctrine and observance. Conservative and Reform Jews have differing interpretations of the religion within a modern context.

There are Ten Commandments, written in the Torah, which help provide a look into many of the guiding principles of the religion. The commandments include:

First Commandment (Exodus 20:2): I am the Lord Your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Second Commandment (Exodus 20:3-6): You shall have no other gods beside Me. You shall not make for yourself any graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them, for I, the Lord Your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

Third Commandment (Exodus 20:7): You shall not take the name of the Lord Your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.

Fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11): Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Lord Your God, in it you shall not do any manner of work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your man-servant, nor your maid-servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day. Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.

Fifth Commandment (Exodus 20:12): Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord God gives you.

Sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13): You shall not murder.

Seventh Commandment (Exodus 20:13): You shall not commit adultery.

Eighth Commandment (Exodus 20:13): You shall not steal.

Ninth Commandment (Exodus 20:13): You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Tenth Commandment (Exodus 20:14): You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, nor his wife, his man-servant, his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.