Successful kids, happier families

You want the best for your family—to set up your kids and teens for success and create a happier, calmer family life. But when do you learn how to parent, how to parent a teenager, or how do you raise successful children?

What if there was an online parenting program that could answer all your questions but still lets you choose the strategies that fit your family’s needs? Millions of families around the globe have had success with Triple P Online, and it can help you too!

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Positive Parenting Recorded Online Class

In the optimal world, we would all take a really good practical parenting class before we become parents.  Unfortunately, that almost never happens.  Usually, we go into it with high expectations, and then our toddler quickly humbles us to the point of giving up.  Parenting should be rewarding and FUN!  You should feel like you are making a difference in this little one’s life, teaching her everything she needs to know to become a properly socialized contributing member of society.

Luckily, no matter your stage of uncertainty or frustration, I can help you turn this around.  Initially, you need to invest some time and energy into learning a new way to approach parenting. The time you invest now will be returned to you a hundred or even thousand-fold in increased cooperation, respect, control. Imagine a time when your parenting authority is completely present and effective.

If you are spending minutes, even hours a day in frustration and ineffective tactics, it may seem impossible to add more to your plate.  However, this is EXACTLY what you need to do to turn this around.  And it will happen so much faster than you think.

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AirDoctor is 100x more effective than ordinary air purifiers

Indoor air pollution is caused by a combination of particles like pollen, dust, Bacteria & Viruses, pet dander, mold spores and smoke combined with ozone, invisible gases and volatile organic compounds which are emitted by building materials, furniture, carpeting, paint, cleaning and personal care products.

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31 Fast and Healthy Breakfasts

Original article available here…https://greatist.com/health/healthy-fast-breakfast-recipes

We admit it: There are some (OK, many) mornings when it’s all we can do to will ourselves out of bed and grab a fistful of cereal or a granola bar on our way out the door.

A gourmet breakfast isn’t a realistic everyday goal. But that doesn’t mean we should settle for a sugar rush that’ll leave us sad and hungry a half-hour later. You’d be surprised how many healthy breakfast ideas require very little effort when put into practice.

We’re about to blow your mind with everything from über-easy, make-ahead breakfast muffins to lots of delicious vegan breakfast ideas and healthy smoothies you can whip up in just minutes. Overnight oats recipe? Oh, yeah. We’ve got a killer one of those.

There’s also no need to limit these healthy breakfast recipes to the morning hours, friends. Expand your horizons and try these 31 healthy options to satisfy those breakfast-food cravings all day long.

1. Tomato Toast with Macadamia “Ricotta

Here’s a vegan take on a classic summer breakfast sandwich. Instead of mayo, a fluffy, rich mixture of nuts, garlic, miso paste, and nutritional yeast is spread on hearty whole-grain bread. Then slices of ripe tomatoes are layered on — we love to mix red and yellow heirlooms.

Season this open-faced sandwich with ribbons of basil or shiso, kosher salt, and fresh cracked black pepper.

2. Avocado Toast with Egg

Sometimes simple is just better. Top two lightly toasted slices of whole-grain bread with smashed avocado and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Layer on two sunny-side up eggs for a healthy dose of protein and you’ve got a well-rounded breakfast.

3. Nut Butter, Banana, and Chia Seed Toast

Try this superfood twist on classic PB and banana, using sunflower seed butter (or your favorite seed or nut butter) and a sprinkling of whole raw chia seeds, which are packed with an amazing array of nutrients.

4. Berry and Yogurt Smoothie

Share on PinterestPhoto: Chef Savvy

Here’s a simple and delicious smoothie for the morning rush. It takes less than five minutes to blend fresh or frozen fruit (banana and berries work well) with Greek yogurt and a liquid of your choice (milk, juice, coconut water — whatever you like).

This recipe makes two servings, so freeze one overnight and let it thaw throughout the day to enjoy in the afternoon.

5. Berry Breakfast Parfait

Share on PinterestPhoto: Food, Fitness, Faith

One of the easiest, healthiest, and tastiest breakfasts out there is a classic fruit and yogurt parfait. The best part? It can be made with any toppings you like. Choose fruits that are in season to get the best flavor. But in a pinch, (thawed) frozen will do.

6. Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

Share on PinterestPhoto: The Chubby Vegetarian

Smoothies are a perfect on-the-go snack any time of day. Blend frozen bananas, peanut butter, soy milk, Greek yogurt, honey, and a few ice cubes and you’ll swear you’re sipping a milkshake.

If this is a morning snack, keep it in a tight-sealing container and secure it in a pocket in your gym or work bag. For an afternoon boost, prep it the night before and freeze it. Remove it in the morning, and it will be thawed and ready when that 3 p.m. lull sets in.

Tip: Add a scoop of your favorite chocolate or vanilla protein powder for an extra shot of protein.

7. Pumpkin Granola Yogurt Parfait

Share on PinterestPhoto: Nutrition in the Kitch

This one’s perfect to try out as fall sets in. In your favorite small container (with a reliable lid!), layer rich pumpkin pie cashew cream with plain Greek yogurt and a handful of granola, and then sprinkle with cinnamon.

The best part? Pumpkin is a bona fide superfood rich in beta carotene, which is essential for eye health.

8. Quinoa Fruit Salad

Share on PinterestPhoto: The Recipe Critic

A fruit salad of berries and mango gets extra texture, body, and protein from a scoop of quinoa. Toss the whole shebang around until the quinoa is evenly distributed. Then drizzle on a sweet-tart dressing of honey, lime, and basil and toss to coat evenly.

This recipe makes 4–6 servings, so you can prep in advance and throw together a serving or two as you need.

9. Blueberry Almond Overnight Oats

Share on PinterestPhoto: Busy Girl Healthy World

This is the ultimate busy-bee breakfast. Combine oats, chia seeds, blueberries, vanilla, almond milk, and maple syrup in a sealed container and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, top with slivered almonds and half a sliced banana and you’re ready for breakfast. If you’re in the mood for something warm, heat in the microwave for 1–2 minutes.

10. Savory Oatmeal with an Egg

Share on PinterestPhoto: Healthy Nibbles and Bits

Savory oatmeal? What the… ?! Yes, this recipe takes oatmeal to a whole new level. Quick-cooking steel-cut oats (or regular rolled oats) are cooked in the microwave, mixed with white cheddar cheese, sprinkled with diced red pepper and onion, and topped with an over-easy egg.

Bonus: This recipe has useful tips for cooking in the microwave without making a mess. (We admit it: We’ve wreaked havoc a few times. Sigh.)

11. Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups

Share on PinterestPhoto: Iowa Girl Eats

Here’s a new way to enjoy quinoa: Make mini quinoa breakfast quiches! These two-bite mini muffins are light and fluffy. And this recipe can be adapted to include your favorite

veggies (spinach or zucchini works well) and cheese (ummmm, cheddar).

12. Quinoa and Chia Porridge

Share on PinterestPhoto: Tales of a Kitchen

Cooking quinoa in milk (dairy, soy, or almond) with healthy spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric infuses flavor into this great substitute for a classic hot breakfast cereal. Plus, it’s high in protein.

Simply put all the ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Then simmer, stir, and top with your favorite seasonal add-ons.

13. Banana Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

Share on PinterestPhoto: The Suburban Soapbox

Try this superfood twist on the classic combo of PB and banana. It tastes like breakfast for dessert, if dessert were healthy. All you need is love — in the form of chia seeds, a banana, some PB, and milk of your choice. And time: The pudding can rest in the fridge for four hours, but overnight is better.

14. Zucchini Bread Oatmeal

Share on PinterestPhoto: Oat & Sesame

Turn a classic summer quick bread into oatmeal with this recipe. Adding shredded zucchini and chia seeds to the simmering oatmeal pumps up the nutritional value and starts your day with a serving of veggies. Throw on a handful of toasted walnuts for added crunch.

15. Coconut Yogurt Quinoa Muffins

Share on PinterestPhoto: Simply Quinoa

By this point, it’s obvious we think quinoa makes anything better. So when it comes to muffins, it’s a no-brainer (especially if you add flaxseeds, oats, banana, and applesauce, too). Try these moist little bites for breakfast or an after-lunch treat.

16. Peanut Butter Banana Oat Breakfast Cookies

Share on PinterestPhoto: Watching What I Eat

Cookies for breakfast? Yes, please. While Oreos or Chips Ahoy may not make a balanced breakfast, these soft, thick, chewy cookies are a top-notch choice. The recipe calls for carob chips, but you can substitute semisweet chocolate chips.

Plus, you can pick and choose what you like to mix in for flavoring — go for almond butter and raisins in one batch and peanut butter and chocolate chips in another.

17. Banana Zucchini Oatmeal Cups

Share on PinterestPhoto: Hummusapien

With oats, shredded zucchini, and maple syrup, this vegan breakfast will start your day with veggies and grains. Make a batch of these baked oatmeal cups in advance, keep them in the fridge, and grab one for breakfast on your way out the door.

18. Apple Crisp Oatmeal Squares

Share on PinterestPhoto: Chocolatexdiaries

Oatmeal is a great option for a hearty snack or breakfast, but what’s the best way to make it more convenient and portable? Bake it into squares! In this recipe, a crisp topping covers a layer of apples over a base of banana and oats.

Tip: Individual servings can be frozen and later thawed or warmed in the microwave.

19. Morning Glory Muffins

Share on PinterestPhoto: Martha Stewart

These oat-based muffins (pssst… it’s a Martha Stewart recipe) are packed with healthy carrots and zucchini and lightly sweetened with raisins and a pinch of sugar. Use a mini muffin tin for smaller portions and cut back on the brown sugar or choose a healthier substitute).

20. Healthy 5-Ingredient Granola Bars

Share on PinterestPhoto: Minimalist Baker

These tasty, easy no-bake granola bars will remind you of your morning oatmeal, but you can eat them anywhere you like. This recipe calls for honey, but we like to replace it with maple syrup to make the bars vegan.

21. Zucchini, Banana, and Chocolate Chip Muffins

Share on PinterestPhoto: Well Plated

Any recipe that fits a serving of veggies into a delicious baked good is a winner in our book. These muffins are jam-packed with better-for-you ingredients — coconut oil, zucchini, banana, and whole-wheat flour — plus chocolate chips for an extra bit of sweetness.

22. Breakfast Egg Muffins

Share on PinterestPhoto: Dinner at the Zoo

Finally, a muffin without allllll that sugar. These are simple to make ahead of time, and they last all week — great for grab-and-go breakfasts. Blend or whisk eggs with spinach, bacon, and cheese, and then pour the mixture into muffin tins. Bake for 15–20 minutes before serving.

Tip: Once they’ve cooled, store them in the fridge. They’ll warm up nicely in the microwave in your office (sorry it smells so good, co-workers).

23. Spinach and Cheddar Microwave Quiche

Share on PinterestPhoto: Bowl of Delicious

Yes, it’s possible (and easy) to make a quiche in the microwave! Cover half a cup of spinach with water in a mug and microwave it for a minute. Drain the water and add an egg, milk, cheese, and a crumbled slice of bacon. Mix thoroughly, and then microwave for three more minutes.

Transfer it to a container to eat later or enjoy it right away.

24. Slow-Cooker Sausage and Egg Casserole

Share on PinterestPhoto: All Day I Dream About Food

Wake up to a house smelling like sausage and effortlessly put breakfast on your plate, all thanks to the beauty and benefits of a slow cooker.

Layer the vegetables, sausage, and cheese in the slow cooker; top with a mix of eggs and cream (you’d be fine using regular or nondairy milk for a lighter option); and you’re just one sleep away from a delicious and hearty meal. (And yes, of course you can omit the sausage.)

25. Cheesy Spinach Baked Eggs

Share on PinterestPhoto: Sugar-Free Mom

Fried eggs are great, but how about baking a whole egg in a muffin tin or ramekin with veggies and cheese, using a lot less oil? A batch of these babies will feed the whole family for breakfast and make Monday feel like Friday. (Yes, you’re a star and they appreciate everything you do.)

26. Chocolate Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Share on PinterestPhoto: Minimalist Baker

Here’s a yummy vegan way to have chocolate for breakfast. A bowlful of quinoa cooked in almond milk and flavored with cocoa and maple syrup makes for a flavorful, filling, protein-rich base. Top with banana, berries, and vegan dark chocolate (read the label — some brands of chocolate use milk products).

27. Warm Fruit Bowl

Share on PinterestPhoto: Nutrition Stripped

Craving dessert for breakfast? Or breakfast for dessert? This gluten-free, vegan bowl should hit the spot. Simply bake a blend of berries in the oven until soft, remove from the oven, and sprinkle with shaved vegan dark chocolate (it’ll melt into the warm fruit) and crunchy toasted coconut.

Serve in bowls with warm or cold nut milk.

28. Vegan Blueberry Flax Breakfast Muffins

Share on PinterestPhoto: Kbaked

These hearty, wholesome, and not-too-sweet muffins make the perfect portable breakfast. Flaxseeds provide a healthy dose of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Mashed banana (one of our favorite healthy baking substitutions) allows for a slight reduction in the added fat and sugar, too.

29. Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Apple Bites

Share on PinterestPhoto: The Comfort of Cooking

This is a perfect pick for apple season. Cut your favorite kind of apple into wedges and scoop nut butter onto each slice. Sprinkle with oats or granola and cinnamon and drizzle a bit of melted chocolate on top.

30. Southwest Tofu Scramble

Share on PinterestPhoto: Minimalist Baker

Stuck with last night’s leftovers? No problem. If you have some leftover tofu and veggies (like peppers and kale), you’re good to go for this easy eggless scramble. (Yes, it’s vegan.) Combine your ingredients in a pan and throw some potatoes on the side for a hearty dish.

31. Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jelly Compote Waffles

Share on PinterestPhoto: Jessica in the Kitchen

The “compote” part might make this recipe sound complicated, but we’ve got your back. If it’s not a slow weekend morning when you’re ready to spend some time in the kitchen, use some substitutes (like regular jelly) to top these tasty PB waffles.

Bonus points because they’re gluten-free AND vegan, so no one has to miss out.

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Looking for other healthy eating info, check out our article on starting a Keto Diet Benefits.

 

Post-Workout Nutrition What to Eat After a Workout

You put a lot of effort into your workouts, always looking to perform better and reach your goals.

Chances are you’ve given more thought to your pre-workout meal than your post-workout meal.

But consuming the right nutrients after you exercise is just as important as what you eat before.

Here is a detailed guide to optimal nutrition after workouts.

To understand how the right foods can help you after exercise, it’s important to understand how your body is affected by physical activity.

When you’re working out, your muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel. This results in your muscles being partially depleted of glycogen. Some of the proteins in your muscles also get broken down and damaged (1, 2).

After your workout, your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair and regrow those muscle proteins.

Eating the right nutrients soon after you exercise can help your body get this done faster. It is particularly important to eat carbs and protein after your workout.

Doing this helps your body:

  • Decrease muscle protein breakdown.
  • Increase muscle protein synthesis (growth).
  • Restore glycogen stores.
  • Enhance recovery.

Bottom Line: Getting in the right nutrients after exercise can help you rebuild your muscle proteins and glycogen stores. It also helps stimulate growth of new muscle.

This section discusses how each macronutrient — protein, carbs and fat — is involved in your body’s post-workout recovery process.

Protein Helps Repair and Build Muscle

As explained above, exercise triggers the breakdown of muscle protein (1, 2).

The rate at which this happens depends on the exercise and your level of training, but even well-trained athletes experience muscle protein breakdown (3, 4, 5).

Consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins. It also gives you the building blocks required to build new muscle tissue (1, 6, 7, 8).

It’s recommended that you consume 0.14–0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.3–0.5 grams/kg) very soon after a workout (1).

Studies have shown that ingesting 20–40 grams of protein seems to maximize the body’s ability to recover after exercise (6, 8, 9).

Carbs Help With Recovery

Your body’s glycogen stores are used as fuel during exercise, and consuming carbs after your workout helps replenish them.

The rate at which your glycogen stores are used depends on the activity. For example, endurance sports cause your body to use more glycogen than resistance training.

For this reason, if you participate in endurance sports (running, swimming, etc.), you might need to consume more carbs than a bodybuilder.

Consuming 0.5–0.7 grams of carbs per pound (1.1–1.5 grams/kg) of body weight within 30 minutes after training results in proper glycogen resynthesis (1).

Furthermore, insulin secretion, which promotes glycogen synthesis, is better stimulated when carbs and protein are consumed at the same time (10, 11, 12, 13).

Therefore, consuming both carbs and protein after exercise can maximize protein and glycogen synthesis (13, 14).

Try consuming the two in a ratio of 3:1 (carbs to protein). For example, 40 grams of protein and 120 grams of carbs (15, 16).

Eating plenty of carbs to rebuild glycogen stores is most important for people who exercise often, such as twice in the same day. If you have 1 or 2 days to rest between workouts then this becomes less important.

Fat Is Not That Bad

Many people think that eating fat after a workout slows down digestion and inhibits the absorption of nutrients.

While fat might slow down the absorption of your post-workout meal, it will not reduce its benefits.

For example, a study showed that whole milk was more effective at promoting muscle growth after a workout than skim milk (17).

Moreover, another study showed that even when ingesting a high-fat meal (45% energy from fat) after working out, muscle glycogen synthesis was not affected (18).

It might be a good idea to limit the amount of fat you eat after exercise, but having some fat in your post-workout meal will not affect your recovery.

Bottom Line: A post-workout meal with both protein and carbs will enhance glycogen storage and muscle protein synthesis. Consuming a ratio of 3:1 (carbs to protein) is a practical way to achieve this.

Your body’s ability to rebuild glycogen and protein is enhanced after you exercise (9).

For this reason, it’s recommended that you consume a combination of carbs and protein as soon as possible after exercising.

Although the timing does not need to be exact, many experts recommend eating your post-workout meal within 45 minutes.

In fact, it’s believed that the delay of carb consumption by as little as two hours after a workout may lead to as much as 50% lower rates of glycogen synthesis (9, 10).

However, if you consumed a meal before exercising, it’s likely that the benefits from that meal still apply after training (9, 19, 20).

Bottom Line: Eat your post-workout meal within 45 minutes of exercising. However, you can extend this period a little longer, depending on the timing of your pre-workout meal.

The primary goal of your post-workout meal is to supply your body with the right nutrients for adequate recovery and to maximize the benefits of your workout.

Choosing easily digested foods will promote faster nutrient absorption.

The following lists contain examples of simple and easily digested foods:

Carbs

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Chocolate milk
  • Quinoa
  • Fruits (pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi)
  • Rice cakes
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Dark, leafy green vegetables

Protein:

  • Animal- or plant-based protein powder
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Protein bar
  • Tuna

Fats:

  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Nut butters
  • Trail mix (dried fruits and nuts)

Combinations of the foods listed above can create great meals that provide you with all the nutrients you need after exercise.

Here are a few examples of quick and easy meals to eat after your workout:

  • Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables.
  • Egg omelet with avocado spread on toast.
  • Salmon with sweet potato.
  • Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread.
  • Tuna and crackers.
  • Oatmeal, whey protein, banana and almonds.
  • Cottage cheese and fruits.
  • Pita and hummus.
  • Rice crackers and peanut butter.
  • Whole grain toast and almond butter.
  • Cereal and skim milk.
  • Greek yogurt, berries and granola.
  • Protein shake and banana.
  • Quinoa bowl with berries and pecans.
  • Multi-grain bread and raw peanuts.

It is important to drink plenty of water before and after your workout.

When you are properly hydrated, this ensures the optimal internal environment for your body to maximize results.

During exercise, you lose water and electrolytes through sweat. Replenishing these after a workout can help with recovery and performance (21).

It’s especially important to replenish fluids if your next exercise session is within 12 hours.

Depending on the intensity of your workout, water or an electrolyte drink are recommended to replenish fluid losses.

Bottom Line: It is important to get water and electrolytes after exercise to replace what was lost during your workout.

Consuming a proper amount of carbs and protein after exercise is essential.

It will stimulate muscle protein synthesis, improve recovery and enhance performance during your next workout.

If you’re not able to eat within 45 minutes of working out, it’s important to not go much longer than 2 hours before eating a meal.

Finally, replenishing lost water and electrolytes can complete the picture and help you maximize the benefits of your workout.

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What Makes a Marriage Strong?

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I’m coming up on 38 years of marriage. Years ago that wasn’t odd. In our culture today it’s a long time and people marvel. They wonder how we have such a strong marriage. I started wondering too.

Our marriage isn’t perfect. We’ve had some rough times. But for the most part, it hasn’t felt difficult — why is that?

Especially when many people struggle so much — why is that?

What’s the secret sauce that makes a marriage strong?

Is mine just easier? I used to think so because our pairing has a supernatural story to it. But now I think differently.

We’re still people and people have issues. There must be something we do or don’t do that lends itself to why our marriage is strong.

I looked at my marriage and then asked a group of people to find answers.

The primary thing that makes a marriage strong is so obvious we miss it.

It takes two. Two people who make the same decision. Two people who form a partnership. Two people who make life mutual.

One person cannot carry a marriage no matter how much they try or hard they pray. It isn’t 50/50 — it’s 100/100.

A strong marriage takes two.

Before our wedding day we faced and accepted the mindset of forever. Forever is a big word to commit to. It’s scary. How is anyone supposed to know what will happen next week let alone forever? What about this and what about that questions rush through your mind.

But dedication to this commitment forges a strength to endure no matter what life throws at you.

There’s a reason the old traditional vows said for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part. It’s normal to hesitate before saying them — it takes commitment that doesn’t give up when life get hard.

A strong marriage takes true commitment.

My marriage began with God in the center. Many of those in the group I asked put God in the center also. If you think about the origin of marriage this only makes sense.

The one who designed marriage, God, established it as a covenant between Him and the couple. So if He’s in the covenant, He’s involved. And if He designed it, it’s wise to have Him in the center.

Marriage in our culture has been reduced to a piece of paper or a business contract. Covenant is an archaic word to many but it’s much more powerful than a contract.

A strong marriage takes the help of God

Many marriages begin with what people call love when in truth they have feelings. We can feel love but love in truth is a choice. Building a strong marriage takes many choices and choosing love is the first choice to be made.

Things happen and feelings follow but having a commitment to love will supersede emotions. Choosing to commit to love will be visible in the choices that follow.

Love does no harm. Love serves. Love honors. Love is not self-serving. Love lifts up. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love speaks up and corrects with gentleness and grace.

A strong marriage takes choosing love.

Life is complicated and so are relationships. It takes many things to build a good strong marriage — and keep it strong. It’s a process so don’t be too hard on yourself.

Building anything of value takes time.

With the help from the group I asked, here is a list of building blocks to add to the things above for a strong marriage.

  • Communication — active listening
  • Intimacy — emotional and physical (sex)
  • Respect
  • Willingness to grow together
  • Friendship
  • Play — laughter — sense of humor
  • Trust
  • Love them more than being right
  • Grace
  • Good will toward each other
  • Honesty
  • Compassion — understanding
  • Cooperation — Happy willingness to help each other
  • Support — encourage one another in hopes and dreams
  • Forgiveness
  • Humility — Being able to apologize even if you’re not wrong
  • Flexibility

And the list goes on…

A strong marriage takes many things but most of all it takes two people building together.

  • What on the list can you use?
  • Can you add to my list?
  • Get some love for yourself here.

Building a Strong Marriage

Source Each year, more than 2 million couples marry in the U.S. While most couples say they are madly in love, some really wonder if they have what it takes to make their marriage last over time. Whether you’re married now or planning to, you’ll want to know about a Life Innovations survey of 21,501 married couples from every state. It identified not only the top 10 strengths of happy marriages, but also the top 10 problems in marriage. The top 10 strengths are as follows:
  • Partners are satisfied with communication.
  • Partners handle their differences creatively.
  • They feel very close to each other.
  • Spouses are not controlling.
  • Partners discuss their problems well.
  • They are satisfied with the affection they show and receive.
  • There is a good balance of time alone and together.
  • Family and friends rarely interfere.
  • Partners agree on how to spend money.
  • Partners agree on spiritual beliefs.
Additionally, the research found that the strongest couples have strong communication skills, a clear sense of closeness as a couple, flexibility, personal compatibility and good conflict resolution skills. Strong marriages have a balance between separateness and togetherness. These couples prioritize togetherness, ask each other for help, enjoy doing things together and spend most of their free time together. Also, some of the common factors in the relationship roles in strong marriages include both parties:
  • Are equally willing to make necessary adjustments in their roles,
  • Reporting satisfaction with the division of housework,
  • Working hard to have an equal relationship, and
  • Making most decisions jointly.
The happiest couples said they were happy with the way they communicate, it was easy to express their feelings and found their partner to be a good listener. They especially noted that their partner doesn’t use put-downs. Obviously, conflict management/resolution skills are crucial. In strong marriages, both partners say that their partner understands their positions. They feel free to share their feelings and ideas; they take disagreements seriously and they work cooperatively to resolve conflicts. According to the survey, the top 10 problems in marriage are:
  • Problems sharing leadership.
  • One partner is too stubborn.
  • Stress created by child-rearing differences.
  • One partner is too negative or critical.
  • Feeling responsible for issues.
  • One partner wishes the other had more time.
  • Avoiding conflict with partner.
  • One partner wishes the other was more willing to share their feelings.
  • Difficulty completing tasks.
  • Differences never get resolved.
For example, some common stumbling blocks are when one person feels most responsible for the problem, avoiding conflict and having serious disputes over minor issues. Sadly, relationships with unresolved differences can get into trouble. As a result, stumbling blocks become walls instead of stepping stones to build up the marriage. Finally, no matter how in love you feel, bringing two personalities and their families together and learning how to dance can be challenging. So don’t just prepare for your wedding – take time to prepare for your marriage. Learn how to build on your strengths, creatively address differences and work together for the best interests of your marriage. It will probably be the best wedding present you can give to each other. For more information on becoming a newlywed, get our E-Book, 10 Things Every Newlywed Needs to Know

For more marriage advice and resources check out our latest article on Saving Your Marriage.

35 Secrets to Marriage Success

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For many married couples, falling in love and saying “I do” was the easy part. Living happily ever after is the part that takes a whole lot of work.

My family history doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to the vow “until death do us part.” My parents divorced when I was 18, and on my mom’s side alone, not one single marriage has lasted (keep in mind, she’s one of eight siblings). One might think this would make me a cynic when it comes to marriage — but for some unexplainable reason, that’s not the case. Maybe I’m an idealist, but I think you can fall in love with your best friend, grow old together, and even live happily ever after.

I sought out some honest advice from real people who might have insight as to what makes a marriage stand the distance. I reached out to all the married couples and divorcées I knew and asked them the burning question, “What’s the secret to making a marriage successful?” Read their words of wisdom below:

  1. Share everything with each other. Most importantly, everything you are feeling. There is no way to be on common ground if you don’t communicate how you’re feeling.
  2. Whatever bad stuff happens, remember this, too, will pass.
  3. Affection breeds more affection. Touch each other, kiss each other good morning, and have plenty of sex (even when you’re old!). It’s too easy to get out of the habit, which makes you feel distant. Intimacy and physical affection really help keep you connected.
  4. Children can be stressful, but they, too, will grow up.
  5. Let the little things go and think big picture. Since you’re in it for the long haul, are you really going to care who did or didn’t run the dishwasher when you look back in 10 years? Remind yourself that your relationship is much, much bigger than anyone minor incident.
  6. Fill the fridge with his favorites — it’s easy to do, so just do it.
  7. Take time for yourself to do what you love, what makes you happy and gives you energy — being successful as a couple will only work if each of you is strong and fulfilled as an individual.
  8. Avoid giving the silent treatment. Talk about things that bother you as soon as possible; don’t let your emotions build up, because you’ll likely explode.
  9. Let go of hurts more easily, and try not to dwell on things that annoy you.
  10. Don’t be afraid to compromise. It sounds like a bad word and like you are giving up on your “ideals,” but in reality, it’s about the push and pull of a relationship. Try rating how much you want something on a scale from one to 10 and have your partner do the same. So if eating out is a five for you and staying in is a nine for him, then you should stay in that night.
  11. Don’t take each other for granted. You have to work at it all the time.
  12. Be spontaneous. Change things up every once in a while, whether that means a last-minute vacation or a card for no special occasion. Grand gifts and the smallest gestures can go a long way when you’re with someone for a very long time.
  13. Be nice! This can be harder than it seems sometimes, but remember that you (hopefully) love the person more than anyone else on the planet and you chose to marry them, so treat them with kindness.
  14. Be patient. You both might grow together at different times and in different ways, so you need to give and take to make it last forever.
  15. Celebrate when good things happen, and be expressive about it.
  16. Find new things, new hobbies to do together like road biking, a cooking class, or starting a garden. It’s just another reason to spend time together building your bond, and it keeps the excitement going.
  17. Marry someone you like killing time with.
  18. Tell them what you need. As much as you want them to, they can’t read minds. Tell them that you feel disconnected and that you want a day alone together or date night.
  19. Speaking of date nights, go on them and have fun! It’s important to set time alone regardless of how busy either of you get — especially when you have kids. Even if you’re overworked, overtired, or low on funds, it doesn’t take much time or money to reconnect. It can be as simple as going for a walk or cooking dinner together.
  20. Make a budget together. It’s a great way to talk about your plans and dreams for the future and how to make them happen.
  21. Surprise each other like you used to do when dating with special notes, small gifts, baking them a favorite recipe or planning a weekend away. It lets the other person know you’re still in love with them, and it makes you feel the love, too.
  22. On the other end, when your spouse does do something special for you, show appreciation. They may know that you think all those positive things, but it’s nice to hear them out loud.
  23. Build your partner up and support them to be all they can or want to be.
  24. Take time to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes before judging. You want to avoid unnecessary criticism or negativity as much as you can.
  25. Make each other laugh. Try not to take everything so seriously.
  26. Communication is key. When your marriage hits certain speed bumps, remind yourself that when you come out on the other side, your relationship should be better and more evolved. Make sure the tough times lead to improvement, and if you keep making the same mistakes, reevaluate why.
  27. Have couple friends but also your own friends who you hang out with on a regular basis, without your spouse.
  28. Be more generous with time and money.
  29. Be happy yourself. If you’re in a slump, there’s a tendency to take it out on your spouse or want them to fix it. You have to fix yourself.
  30. Don’t get defensive. Try to come at things from a place of love and kindness, and don’t assume you’re being attacked.
  31. Trust and be trustworthy.
  32. Try to always remember why you fell in love with your partner. Whether it was their sense of humor or ambition — always remind yourself.
  33. Say “I love you,” and tell your partner they look attractive.
  34. Appreciate what you have and realize that marriages at times can be fragile and need to be taken care of.
  35. Enjoy the NOW. Add a house, kids, etc. to the plate, and things just keep getting more complicated. Whatever phase you’re in, embrace it and enjoy it.
 
If you got this far and are still looking for help with your marriage check out another one of our articles on saving your marriage.

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