7 Tips for Living Together Happily 

by Kat Kennedy | Treat each other to little simple things you know will be loved. Living together has shined a light on each of our strengths and weaknesses, bad habits and destructive behaviors but also allowed us to gain a new kind of closeness that we wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.

I’m no relationship guru by any stretch of the imagination but rather a regular girl who’s compiled a list of seven savvy tips for keeping cohabitation with my significant other light-hearted and fun.

Generally speaking, we find a positive correlation between length of relationship and the more serious it becomes. Somehow time makes us prioritise other things over fun, laughter, and dreams, and we wind up bitter, resentful, and neglected before we know it. This isn’t necessarily across the board – it hasn’t been in my relationship, for example – but it is possible that as the two of you sink into routines, you will edge further and further away from those spontaneous little moments that you had when you initially kindled your romance.

Living together has been a whimsical journey, but it has also been eye-opening and challenging. It has shined a light on each of our strengths and weaknesses, bad habits and destructive behaviours but also allowed us to gain a new kind of closeness that we wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. Every couple is unique, but I’ve got seven solid tips for you today that can give you a strong foundation upon which to build a dream life together. Just like a pizza: if the base is good, you don’t have to worry about much else.

1. Spend quality time together 1 or 2 nights a week. When we first decided to share our space, we were worried we might get bored with seeing each other so much, but in fact the opposite occurred. We fell into the trap of co-existing without spending any quality time together. We’d return from work, eat dinner at the same time and then part ways, us each working or studying solo for the duration of the evening. By the time we’d climb into bed, all energy had been sapped, and we realized we were never getting the best of each other. Now, we make it a point to put work aside a couple nights a week and linger at the table after dinner, prioritising catching up on life.

2. Monthly dining indulgence. Before we lived under the same roof, our date nights would often revolve around cooking for one another or going out for a bite to eat. While it’s great to have our own kitchen now, we still make a point to indulge once a month by planning an evening out at a favourite or new restaurant and treating ourselves to some delicious food and ambience.

3. Alternate cooking for each other throughout the work week. After a long day, coming home to dinner ready and waiting is like a warm embrace. Cooking for your partner infuses your meal with love and care, and there’s no simpler way to spark a smile or appreciation than to help each other out.

4. Keep communal areas clean. It is inevitable that you will get, ahem, closer when living together; It’s a lot less difficult to hide bad habits! But while you should, of course, be able to feel at home, we make it paramount in our house to keep joint areas like the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living room clean. The dining room is pretty much mine, stacked with notes and books for working, and Jonny has his music room filled with his medley of instruments. In these spaces, we know we can delve into our own realms and be free to live how we want. But in the joint areas, we maintain strict no-clutter and no-dirt policies. If you live dirty, you feel dirty, and for us, we are both in the best head space when we are keeping on top of the chores. This translates into our relationship. I mean, think about it; it’s not particularly alluring cooking up a romantic meal together in a crusty kitchen, is it? Or climbing into a bed piled up with clothes, food wrappers and whatever else!

5. Treat each other to little simple things you know will be loved. Once you live under the same roof, you’re both involved with the bills, the necessities, and the chores. Treating each other to little surprises reminds one another that you care. This can be a funny note, a baked good, a plant, or whatever brings an instant smile on your partner’s face. It doesn’t have to cost a penny, and it can still be heartfelt.

6. Have a joint pot of money for shared resources and share the job of doing them. While talking money is anything but sexy, being respectful of each other’s resources is. There is nothing worse than feeling that you’ve been taken for a ride, so it’s important from the get-go that you’re on the same page. Split your bills in a way that both parties are happy with, and have a shared pot for food money. Set a budget and stick to it, saving the need for any disagreements or hard feelings. We’ve also found that it works best when we both split the food shopping; this way it feels as though both of you are getting to make choices about what to eat. It’s a simple thing that makes a big difference.

7. Have monthly reviews. We joked about having a monthly review around about 30 days after we moved in but actually found it to be really useful. It gave us a chance to reflect on what we had enjoyed for the previous month, as well as any concerns that had been brought up and were worrying either of us. We now find it really easy to express how we’re feeling about things, remembering the importance of affirming positive experiences to the other party as well as being honest about what isn’t making us so happy. Practicing this each month makes it easier to be comfortable with being open and honest without sparking conflict.

Kat Kennedy is an explorative writer and advocate for sustainable living. She’s a proud ‘third culture kid’ who is passionate about houseplants, vegan baking and outdoor adventures. You can read more of her articles on her blog, Sphynx Kennedy, or keep up with her on Instagram @sphynxkennedy.


Girl’s perspective: How to talk to women properly

Here is an insight for men on how to carry on conversation during a date with that special someone (Canamgirl Music photo)

Dear Men of all ages, I am sure that you all have the same question that you ask yourselves on a regular basis, “How can I pick up the ladies?” It is constantly on your mind, not only because you actually want a relationship or even just a date. It is an unwritten code among men. You hold a high place in your own manly society if you are that guy who gets all the girls. Have you ever thought that perhaps this is an issue? How do you think women respond to this knowledge? Do you think it works in your favor? Well gentlemen, I am here to answer all these questions and give you some insight. Not only for your sake, but for the sake of women who are losing faith in men.

Tip #1:Don’t try so hard.
Honestly if you make a couple attempts to get that girl onto the dance floor….to no avail…. it is most likely a wise decision to take a few steps back. Your chances of even a decent conversation will be a lost cause if you continue to push. This tactic becomes extremely annoying, not only that, eventually creepy. Instead, try asking once for that dance, (or whatever it may be) if you are “Shot Down” just wait for another opportunity to approach and strike up a conversation. You are basically still trying quite hard, although to the female species it will be seen as persistent; not pushy. You may actually instill in them a feeling of curiosity to know more.
 
Tip #2Play hard to get
Usually women are the ones who play hard to get. I can honestly tell you it is because it gives a feeling of being “hot stuff” “worth the chase.” Why not turn the tables?? Allow them to realize what a great catch you are! Pull away ever so slightly, give the woman a time to mull things over and realize how great you are Eventually she will turn up on your caller ID for a change. Trust me, we don’t give up that easily.
 
Tip #3DON’T be cocky!
There is nothing less attractive than a man who portrays himself as “Gods Gift to Women.” Be modest in conversation, try directing questions towards her, show an interest in her likes, dislikes, career etc. Be an honest gentleman. Tip #4Be truthful in your intentions. Men, please don’t get our hopes up for something more if that is never your intention. If you are just interested in a few casual dates now and again don’t be afraid to tell us. It is better to know that there is no current interest in a committed relationship right off the get go.
 
We will respect you for it.
Nothing worse than having the wrong idea and then getting hurt in the end. So, to sum things up……You all have moms, sisters, and female friends, pay more attention to the things that they talk about. I’m sure they can be heard complaining about that last date, or how they wish ( the man in question) would speak to them differently. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from those special women in your life, trust me, it will make you no less of a “man.” In fact, to a woman, you will see more of a man than ever!

is a blogger and the publisher of Susie Magazine: Find your soul mate. You may read more here.

 



Assessing your Relationships

Don't overlook assessing your relationships asking your partner or spouse the right questions (blackdoctor.org photo)

As the year closes, it is a great time to review and evaluate how things are doing. Most of us are familiar with assessing our productivity, grades, health, weight, or finances, but do we assess our relationships?

I recently had the pleasure of listening to Jack Canfield speak, when he suggested that we check in with our partner or spouse every week with the question, “On a scale of 1-10, how am I (how are we…) doing this week?” He then told us that whenever he suggests this practice, someone in the audience invariably asks, “Why would I want to do that! I don’t want to hear about it!” He then, half in gest, but fully in truth, said, “I’ve found if I don’t ask the question, I’m simply the last guy to know. My mother-in-law, housecleaner, best friend, even the lady at the nail salon will know the answer before me!” We all laughed knowingly.

While asking is one way to find out, often we simply need to take a deeper look or acknowledge what we already know. We avoid doing this because looking deeper might reveal a problem that requires some effort to change. The truth is, however, that if simply “looking” or “listening” reveals a problem, the problem is already there. Nothing improves from neglect. When we illuminate the problem, we have the power to do something about it.

So before you ask your partner (or other important relationships), consider what you already know. Reflect on what you have seen, felt and heard. Assessing the relationship doesn’t just mean looking for what is wrong. Be sure to also acknowledge what is working and what you love and appreciate about your partner.

Health, or a lack thereof, leaves symptoms and signs, even in relationships. This will get you started in noticing:

Observation: Does your partner (or boss or children or parents or siblings or employees or coworkers) seem to be happy or distressed? Are you?

Communication: What has he or she already told you? Has your spouse/partner requested that you work less, go on vacation, help around the house, take better care of yourself or better care of them? Are your words to each other and about each other kind? Do you compliment each other and show your gratitude? Or, is your verbal communication with each other harsh, sarcastic or manipulative? Are your facial expressions and gestures toward one another kind and supportive or judgmental? Have you listened to what the other has been saying? Do you feel heard?

Physical: Do you touch each other in nurturing and intimate ways? Do you hold hands, comfort through a kind touch, hug daily? Are you equally content in the physical expression in your relationship? Has your partner made requests that have been disregarded? Have you?

Time: Do you choose to spend time together? Is there a balance in the time you spend together between work, family, chores, the nurturing of dreams and goals, romance and recreation?

Spiritual: Do you nurture your spirits together? Do you read uplifting content, have deeper conversations, spend time in nature, pray, or celebrate your blessings together?

Imagination: Are the stories you tell yourself about how your partner feels about you positive or negative? Are the thoughts you think about your partner kind and grateful or discouraged and discontent? If you were to guess your partner’s relationship happiness on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being extraordinary, what number do you think they would pick? What number do you pick to rate your own relationship happiness? Usually when one is unhappy, the other is too.

Have you been ignoring anything important?

If your relationships are showing signs of distress, ask yourself, “What can I do to create a healthier relationship?” And, start doing it immediately. A few slight timely adjustments can save you from huge issues, even divorce. Remember, while relationships can be a bit of work, little to none of the “work” is on the other person. If you don’t know what to do, just like anything else you want to improve: study, learn, and practice. There is a wealth of resources available to you.

In my experience, when the goal is to be closer to our loved ones, we either need to practice gratitude, lovingly touch and talk more and/or spend some time in recreation (re-creation) together. Take responsibility for your piece and others will respond differently to you.

If you pay attention, you will find that you are the first to know how your relationships are going. Sometimes the deeper inquiry gives you cause for celebration of a good work in progress. If not, you just discovered what you can give your spouse, family or partner for the holidays and into the New Year… a healthier, happier relationship.

Eve Eschner Hogan is a relationship specialist, and author of several books including The EROS Equation: A SOUL-ution for Relationships. In Real Love with Eve, she shares skills, principles, and tools for creating healthy, harmonious relationships—with friends, family, lovers, co-workers, and the world at large. Her uncommon approach to common sense will help you sail away from ego battles and into the calmer waters of real love. Learn more about Eve's Heart Path retreats at sacredmauiretreats.com.

 



Making your Marriage Last

This is one of the main reasons that couples divorce. (Alan Lambert – Getty Images)

I have been married 20 years but I still find that successful communication is the No. 1 challenge in my relationship. And I know I am not alone. Communication issues are the top reason most marriages fail. Thankfully, I have learned one thing over the years that has helped me overcome this: respect.

When I approach my husband Chad respectfully, my chances of him listening and responding are far greater than if I approach him harshly or aggressively.

For most of our marriage, my husband Chad has had no desire to take out the trash. It could be packed tight, overflowing, and causing a seriously foul smell throughout our home, and he still wouldn't think about taking it out. That drives me crazy! I know he isn't lazy; in fact, he is one of the hardest workers I know. What makes me crazy is that I feel he takes me for granted because he knows that I have all the home chores covered.

Here are two ways that I could deal with this:

A. I could communicate what I desire to have done by asking him respectfully "Honey, can you please take out the trash?"

OR

B. I could express my frustration to him with my finger pointed by disrespectfully saying, "You never do anything, the trash smells like a dead pig! When do you plan on taking that out?"

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger" (Prov. 15:1).

"He who guards his mouth preserves his life" (Prov. 13:3).

As a woman of God, I know that I am called to respect my husband. Unique to each spouse is a set of things they need. One of Chad's top three needs is "respect." If I want him to meet my needs, I must first try to meet his needs, even if he is not doing something the way I think he should.

It is pretty obvious that Option A would be the best way to handle this situation, but showing Chad respect is not always easy for me. I really struggle with showing him respect when I am frustrated. Truthfully there are many times that I want to go "cuckoo" on him and use Option B (and sadly, I have). However, it never works out well! By using Option B, maybe the trash will get taken out, but the whole day would be ruined because of our anger and fighting. Division would come between us, and what could have been a good day would become filled with chaos.

Unfortunately, I have caused one too many "bad days" by not choosing to honor the Lord by respecting my husband. Taking the approach of choosing to honor the Lord is exactly how I started to make the appropriate changes in my attitude. Ephesians 5 teaches us to respect our husbands. That verse doesn't say to respect him only when he deserves it. Instead, God's Word teaches us to respect our husbands all of the time. It was with this new revelation in mind that I was able to begin making the choice to respect Chad in all areas of our marriage, but especially with my words.

I was convicted by these verses in the Bible:

"It is better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman" (Prov. 21:19).

"It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a wide house" (Prov. 21:9).

I never want to be that kind of wife again. How shameful it would be if I were still that type of wife?

"But let it be the hidden nature of the heart, that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God" (1 Peter 3:4).

I made the decision that this is the wife I wanted to be!

This is an example of true beauty. This is the depiction of the virtuous woman that God created me to be. This is the woman who will lay pride aside to willfully meet her husband's needs. Ultimately, this healthy attitude will lead to joy in a marriage that revolves around peace and unity.


After reading the above statement, I'm sure you're asking, "That all sounds wonderful, but if we are so focused on our spouse's needs, then what about our own needs?" Notice what I said above: "the woman who will lay pride aside to willfully meet her husband's needs finds joy in a marriage of peace and unity."

There is no question that I still desire to have my needs met, but constantly challenging my husband to meet those needs is selfish on my part, and my efforts always fail. Through true servanthood to one another, when I strive to meet his needs and he strives to meet mine, we find ourselves in the marriage we both desire. I have heard it said that you have to meet halfway … I no longer believe this to be true. I'm willing to go all the way!

Even if Chad only goes 30 percent, then we will be fine, because there will be other days when he will give 100 percent and I will fall short. You don't have to be a statistician, just understand that when you are both "all in" and can take your eyes off your own needs and focus on your spouse's needs, you will be most fulfilled.

From Marriage Advance by Chad and Kathy Robichaux, a book helping couples strengthen their marriages in times great adversity and advancing toward the ultimate success God had in mind when you said, "I do."

Kathy Robichaux is the director of women's programs for the Mighty Oaks Foundation. She has a strong connection with women and wives struggling with the pain and heartache in the wake of PTSD. With vast amount of personal experiences, she speaks publicly as a wife and mother who fought the war with the symptoms in her husband and came out the other side with a restored marriage and an even stronger faith. Kathy and Chad have been married for 20 years and have three teenage children: Hunter, Haili and Hayden.