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    The Power Of Listening In Your Relationship

    None of us is an island. While it’s natural and healthy to enjoy (or even crave) moments of isolation, quiet and solitude, it’s in our connection to others that we truly experience life the way in which it was supposed to be lived. Living is not about working, striving and accumulating material possessions. It’s about making a difference in people’s lives. It’s about forging and cultivating relationships that bring us joy and allow us to bring joy to other people. While this can encompass everyone from your friends and colleagues to your minister to

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    Most love stories grievously mis-sell relationships. They always end right when things are getting interesting. They focus on the courtship and the quotidian drama of two people getting to know one another, but they tend to fade to credits on the wedding day or when the couple have reached their first big milestone together… And they all lived happily ever after. But not only is this cliche Hollywood ending unrealistic, it’s actually misleading and irresponsible. It implies that happily ever after is an effortless process that requires no effort and communication from either half of the couple. It just… happens.


    Yet those of us who’ve sustained a relationship even into marriage know that relationships require a lot of work. Sure, love is the crucial ingredient and without it the whole thing falls apart but John Lennon was wrong. Love is not all you need. While there are many skills which are helpful and necessary in keeping a relationship going, chief among them is listening. Listening is an integral part of communication and when we truly take the time to master it, it can not only make our romantic relationships more harmonious, it can improve your relationships with virtually anyone else, potentially boosting your career prospects and helping you to achieve your life goals…


    Hearing isn’t always listening


    Many of us assume that we’re listening, when what we’re actually doing is hearing. We just don’t know the difference. We hear a lot in our day to day lives and yet we listen to very little. Many of us have developed pretty selective filters that tune out most of what we hear and allow only a tiny percentage of it into the hallowed vaults of memory. We kind of have to. With so much background noise clamoring for our attention, we need to be selective. But while hearing is passive, listening is active. Good listeners engage with what they’re hearing and pay proper attention not only to what is said but how it is said.  


    Try not to rush to say your piece


    It’s often said that women listen while men wait for their turn to speak. But if we’re completely honest, we’ve all been guilty of this bad habit. We’ll hear something our partner is saying and start preparing our rebuttal before they’ve had the time to complete their sentence. We’ll stand locked and loaded and just waiting to bust out our immutable retort. But the trouble is that when we do this, we stop actively listening even when we hear the entirety of what our partner tries to day. Avoid this habit, and don’t interrupt either! You might be itching to say your piece but undercutting what your partner has to say can be very damaging to their self esteem.


    Take a second to formulate your responses


    Responding reflexively to what our significant other says is a common reaction, but it can often escalate matters. How often has a fight broken out between you and your loved one because one of you has said something they didn’t mean without thinking about it. If you want to avoid this kind of hurt, get into the habit of taking a second to think about what you say before you open your mouth. It’s never too early or too late to get into this habit.

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    Not all listening is done through the ears


    What someone says accounts for only 7% of what is communicated. The rest is nonverbal. Paying attention to nuances of body language, eye contact, facial expression and use of space is absolutely essential in effective and active listening. Making eye contact is an extremely important part of listening. While we can have a tendency to look away, hang our heads or look at our hands or feet when the conversation takes an uncomfortable turn, one cannot be an active listener without eye contact.  


    Are you agreeing or are you placating?


    One of the most understandable but potentially most damaging habits we can fall into is placating our partner for the sake of a quick resolution. We make non-committal sounds of agreement; “yep”, “Mmhmmm”, “okay” in the hope that our partner will either drop the conversation altogether or move on to something more palatable. But not only can this behavior be upsetting or even insulting, it can simply exacerbate further conflicts.


    Try not to shut out anything you don’t like to hear


    Nobody likes criticism. Even when we recognize that it can lead us to become better people, we have an instinctive, knee jerk reaction to erect barriers to anything about ourselves that we don’t want to hear. We can either screen it out altogether or respond to it with criticism of our own. Needless to say, neither often leads to a helpful outcome that benefits the relationship.


    Listening can even benefit you when the relationship doesn’t work out


    Even if the worst comes to the worst, your relationship fails and matters are taken out of your hands and into the hands of a family law attorney, listening can still benefit your life inside and outside of the relationship. It can help you to resolve disputes peaceably, it can help you to stay civil and forge a better future for the wellbeing of yourselves and any children you may share.


    Moreover, it can make you a better person, help you to learn from your mistakes and ensure that your next relationship works out better.


    Life is full of little lessons if we only take the time to open our ears and our hearts to them.  



    Clingy Much? How To Be Less Relationship Dependent

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    A relationship is the most wonderful thing in the world. There are no words to describe the feeling when you are head over heels in love. It’s as if the heaven and the stars have come together and you’re at the center of the universe. For sure it’s cheesy, but it’s the truth. Everyone knows when they have found the person of their dreams.


    Relationships can turn sour though, and it’s not even possible to realize. Dependency is a major stumbling block because people need their space. If they feel suffocated and trapped, they lash out and run. Continue Reading

    Health Relationships

    For a Happy Life, Learn to Handle These These Stress-Inducers

    Stress was once a good thing; it’d give us that extra kick we needed to, say, stay alive as we were hunting our next meal. Now, we’ve removed ourselves from those potentially deadly situations (well, mostly), but the stress sensors are still there. And alas, they can seriously compromise our happiness and our health. Rather than money or anything else, our chief ambition should be to live a stress-free, contented life. Below, we take a look at some of life’s most stressful moments, and how you can handle them.



    Into Retirement


    You’d think, judging by how people seem to dislike going to work all the time, that retirement would be an enjoyable period in one’s life. Yet while there definitely can be cherished moments, most retirees experience a stressful period first. This is because of two reasons. The first is that their income has been significantly reduced, and they haven’t put enough money away to fully enjoy themselves, which means they have to compromise their lifestyle. The other issue is that they’ve suddenly found themselves with no function, and nothing to do. The best remedy: save more money than you think you’ll need, and find some way to occupy your time.


    Issues of the Heart


    Ah, love. It’s the most maddening aspect of life, according to the late Philip Roth, and he might be right. When everything is good, it can feel like you’re walking on cloud nine. When things are bad, life can be nothing but stress. There is an element of risk involved. If you’re committing to another person, then there’s a chance you’ll one day need a divorce and child custody attorney. Of course, the best way to avoid these issues is to pick a partner that’s right for you on all fronts, and also to try to stay on civil even though the union may be coming to an end.


    Living with Debt


    Debt is a stress-inducer that doesn’t let up. If you’re collapsing under the weight of debt, then work with a professional, or consider filing for bankruptcy.


    Trouble with the Law


    Everyone makes mistakes. For most people, these mistakes are so small that they barely register. For others, it means jail-time. Being in prison is rightly regarded as one of the most stressful experiences of a person’s life. If you’re charged with a crime, make sure you’re working with a top-notch lawyer that you can trust. If you do end up serving time in prison, then learn the best coping techniques.


    Moving Homes


    Buying a house is supposed to be an achievement, so what is it so stressful? Some experts put it right up there with the loss of a partner or a job! If you’re determined to become a property owner, then make sure you get it right. Plan your move well in advance, bring in plenty of help, and give yourself plenty of time to make the move. Of all the stressful situations we’ve mentioned, this is one that’s most in your hands!



    Finding A Balance With An Ex

    Breaking up is hard to do, said Neil Sedaka, and he wasn’t wrong. Whether you’ve gone through a divorce, or you’ve gone through a break up outside a marriage, ending a relationship is stressful and painful. Throw in some kids and you’ve got yourself a recipe for sadness. Having children changes the way that you think about everything, and when you are trying to manage your own feelings during a crumbling relationship, trying to deal with the feelings of your children is not the easiest.

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    Firstly, it’s important to know that if a relationship isn’t right for you, you need to get out of it whether children are involved or not. It sounds harsh, but children shouldn’t dictate your own happiness, when two people don’t love each other anymore, children can pick up on that atmosphere. Struggling to stay together for the sake of the children is going to do no favours to anyone, least of all the kids. You can find a great mediation attorney instead, so that you can work out how to talk through your issues together and come to a reasonable solution where the children are concerned. Your relationship wasn’t always sour even if it is right now and finding a balance with your now ex is going to be hard.

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    Unravelling your feelings, moving out of the family home and striking a balance between your working life and swapping the children over every weekend is something that is going to take some getting used to. Living by yourself after being in the family home together for so long is tough, but there are some things that you can do to make it easier. Co-parenting with an ex is hard but turning toward positive co-parenting is the only way you can all get along while making life smoother for the children. Here are some positive tips to keep that balance solid while you get used to a different kind life:

    • Putting the way that you feel during a split to one side – on both parts – is important. Children need to see that you can unite as parents, even if you can’t unite as a couple. If you bicker and fight, do it away from the children and decide to put your relationship to bed when they are around. Solid parents equal secure children; remember that.
    • Effective communication about the kids is so important. If the relationship has broken down in a way that is bitter and difficult, you still need a way to talk about the children. The options can be text messages and a phone call, but the best way to do it is in writing. Use a notebook to update time with the kids like a diary that passes between you. Communication without actual words.
    • Once times are set to see the children, keep to them. Don’t mess the other person around. The only way to keep things smooth and calm is to avoid rocking the boat.

    Life doesn’t have to be hard with a break-up, as long as you can find a balance, you’ll be just fine.


    5 Things You Really Should Know About Looking For Love On Dating Apps

    The process of finding love in modern times has never been the fairytale state of affairs that we’ve been led to believe. In a way, it was grossly irresponsible for our parents to read us fairy stories when we were little as they gave us drastically unrealistic expectations of relationships. As little girls we’re conditioned to believe (by all but the most forward thinking of parents) to believe that a handsome prince will come into our lives when we need them most. He will be unfailingly kind, and good and infinitely handsome and you will fall in love with one another instantaneously and forever. The reality, however, is rarely that decisive. Prince Charming can become Prince Harming and beneath that charming veneer may reside someone who is at best just slothful and indolent or at worst cruel and vindictive. It takes time to strip away the surface and really get to know a person. Continue Reading