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Nor should anyone else. Just as causing pain to your muscles allows them to grow back stronger, often introducing some pain into your relationship through vulnerability is the only way to make the relationship stronger. Behind respect, trust was the most commonly mentioned trait for a healthy relationship. But trust goes much deeper than that. If you ended up with cancer tomorrow, would you trust your partner to stick with you and take care of you? Would you trust your partner to care for your child for a week by themselves?
Do you trust them to handle your money or make sound decisions under pressure? Do you trust them to not turn on you or blame you when you make mistakes? These are hard things to do. Trust at the beginning of a relationship is easy. What if she is hiding something herself? The key to fostering and maintaining trust in the relationship is for both partners to be completely transparent and vulnerable: If something is bothering you, say something.
This is important not only for addressing issues as they arise, but it proves to your partner that you have nothing to hide.
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Those icky, insecure things you hate sharing with people? Share them with your partner. Make promises and then stick to them. You cannot build that track record until you own up to previous mistakes and set about correcting them. This is hard and will likely require confrontation to get to the bottom of. Own up to it. And strive to be better.
Trust is like a china plate. If you drop it and it breaks, you can put it back together with a lot of work and care. If you drop it and break it a second time, it will split into twice as many pieces and it will require far more time and care to put back together again.
But drop and break it enough times, and it will shatter into so many pieces that you will never be able to put it back together again, no matter what you do.
Figure out as individuals what makes you happy as an individual, be happy yourself, then you each bring that to the relationship. You are supposed to keep the relationship happy by consistently sacrificing yourself for your partner and their wants and needs. There is some truth to that. Every relationship requires each person to consciously choose to give something up at times. Just read that again.
This is the person you chose. It will only backfire and make you both miserable. Have the courage to be who you are, and most importantly, let your partner be who they are. Those are the two people who fell in love with each other in the first place.
What do I mean? Have your own interests, your own friends, your own support network, and your own hobbies. Overlap where you can, but not being identical should give you something to talk about and expose one another to. People sung the praises of separate checking accounts, separate credit cards, having different friends and hobbies, taking separate vacations from one another each year this has been a big one in my own relationship. Some even went so far as to recommend separate bathrooms or even separate bedrooms.
Some people are afraid to give their partner freedom and independence. BUT, more importantly, this inability to let our partners be who they are, is a subtle form of disrespect. What does it say for your respect for yourself? Drives me nuts when I see women not let their husbands go out with the guys or are jealous of other women.
We have changed faiths, political parties, numerous hair colors and styles, but we love each other and possibly even more. Our grown kids constantly tell their friends what hopeless romantics we are. And the biggest thing that keeps us strong is not giving a fuck about what anyone else says about our relationship. I can get on board with that.
Among major life changes people told me their marriages went through and survived: Amazingly, these couples survived because their respect for each other allowed them to adapt and allow each person to continue to flourish and grow. You know who they are today, but you have no idea who this person is going to be in five years, ten years, and so on. You have to be prepared for the unexpected, and truly ask yourself if you admire this person regardless of the superficial or not-so-superficial details, because I promise almost all of them at some point are going to either change or go away.
In fact, at times, it will be downright soul-destroying. Which is why you need to make sure you and your partner know how to fight.
Much like the body and muscles, it cannot get stronger without stress and challenge. You have to fight. You have to hash things out. Obstacles make the marriage. What Gottman does is he gets married couples in a room, puts some cameras on them, and then he asks them to have a fight. He asks them to fight. Successful couples, like unsuccessful couples, he found, fight consistently. And some of them fight furiously. He has been able to narrow down four characteristics of a couple that tend to lead to divorces or breakups.
Stonewalling withdrawing from an argument and ignoring your partner. The reader emails back this up as well. Out of the 1,some-odd emails, almost every single one referenced the importance of dealing with conflicts well.
Advice given by readers included: Never insult or name-call your partner. This solves nothing and just makes the fight twice as bad as it was before. Yeah, you forgot to pick up groceries on the way home, but what does him being rude to your mother last Thanksgiving have to do with anything?
If things get too heated, take a breather. Remove yourself from the situation and come back once emotions have cooled off a bit.
This is a big one for me personally, sometimes when things get intense with my wife, I get overwhelmed and just leave for a while. I usually walk around the block times and let myself seeth for about 15 minutes. But all of this takes for granted another important point: Be willing to have the fights. Say the ugly things and get it all out in the open. This was a constant theme from the divorced readers.
There were times when I saw huge red flags. Instead of trying to figure out what in the world was wrong, I just plowed ahead. And instead of saying something, I ignored all of the signals.
You can be right and be quiet at the same time. In fact, his findings were completely backwards from what most people actually expect: To me, like everything else, this comes back to the respect thing. Compromise is bullshit, because it leaves both sides unsatisfied, losing little pieces of themselves in an effort to get along.
Conflict becomes much easier to navigate because you see more of the context. A similar concept seems to be true in relationships: But how do you get good at forgiving? What does that actually mean? Again, some advice from the readers: Some couples went as far as to make this the golden rule in their relationship.
And you both agree to leave it there, not bring it up every month for the next three years. When your partner screws up, you separate the intentions from the behavior. Not because they secretly hate you and want to divorce you. They are a good person. If you ever lose your faith in that, then you will begin to erode your faith in yourself. And finally, pick your battles wisely. You and your partner only have so many fucks to givemake sure you both are saving them for the real things that matter.
One piece of advice that comes to mind: Some things matter, worth getting upset about. Like Chinese water torture: Is it worth the cost of arguing? Eventually your kids grow up, your obnoxious brother-in-law will join a monastery and your parents will die. You got it… Mr. You and your partner need to be the eye of the hurricane. Even cleaning up when you accidentally pee on the toilet seat seriously, someone said that — these things all matter and add up over the long run.
This seems to become particularly important once kids enter the picture. The big message I heard hundreds of times about kids: Parents are expected to sacrifice everything for them. But the best way to raise healthy and happy kids is to maintain a healthy and happy marriage. A good marriage makes good kids. So keep your marriage the top priority. Make time for it.
Oh, and speaking of sex… Sex Matters… A Lot. Sex starts to slide. No other test required. We were young and naive and crazy about each other. And, because we happened to live in the same dorm, we were banging like rabbits.
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It was everything a year-old male could ask for. We fought more often, found ourselves getting annoyed with each other, and suddenly our multiple-times-per-day habit magically dried up. To my surprised adolescent male mind, it was actually possible to have sex available to you yet not want it. It was almost, like, sex was connected to emotions. For a dumb year-old, this was a complete shocker.
That was the first time I discovered a truth about relationships: If the relationship is good, the sex will be good. You both will be wanting it and enjoying it. When the relationship is bad — when there are unresolved problems and unaddressed negative emotions — then the sex will often be the first thing to go out the window.
This was reiterated to me hundreds of times in the emails. The nature of the sex itself varied quite a bit among couples — some couples take sexual experimentation seriously, others are staunch believers in frequency, others get way into fantasies — but the underlying principle was the same everywhere: But sex not only keeps the relationship healthy, many readers suggested that they use it to heal their relationships.
That when things are a bit frigid between them or that they have some problems going on, a lot of stress, or other issues i.
A few people even said that when things start to feel stale in the relationship, they agree to have sex every day for a week. Then, as if by magic, by the next week, they feel great again. Cue the Marvin Gaye tunes: The sooner everyone accepts that, the happier everyone is. We all have things we like to do and hate to do; we all have things we are good at and not so good at. TALK to your partner about those things when it comes to dividing and conquering all the crap that has to get done in life.
Both people share responsibilities. Both people manage to finely balance their time together with the time for themselves. Both pursue engaging and invigorating interests on their own and then share the benefits together.
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Both take turns cleaning the toilet and blowing each other and cooking gourmet lasagna for the extended family at Thanksgiving although not all at the same time. The fact is relationships are imperfect, messy affairs. Well, maybe if you had been listening, asshole. The common theme of the advice here was be pragmatic. If the wife is a lawyer and spends 50 hours at the office every week, and the husband is an artist and can work from home most days, it makes more sense for him to handle most of the day-to-day parenting duties.
My wife loves cleaning no, seriouslybut she hates smelly stuff. So guess who gets dishes and garbage duty? Here honey, let me get that for you.
On top of that, many couples suggested laying out rules for the relationship. To what degree will you share finances? How much debt will be taken on or paid off? Let them know you understand their actual situation and feelings. Remember in the first point I said you have to be an active listener? Some people even when they come and say the want your advice, most of the time it might be that they just want to talk and express themselves, some other time is that they want someone who will help them find the solution on their own.
Make the person feel better. If you went through the same situation, share it with the person and tell the person how you handled it.
If a friend or relative of yours went through the similar situation, share the story. Most of the time, people want to know that they are not alone in that situation and want to know how the others made it through. Finally, you want to give your advice in a very directive way. When someone comes and ask you for advice, they believe you can help.
So when you give your advice you want to give it a way that justify your choice as the advisor.