Having Faith in Your Inter-Faith Marriage

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Times are changing, this is nothing new. One particular area of change has been marriage trends, especially who is marrying whom. Before the 1960s, only 20% of married couples were interfaith – with each spouse having their own faith different from the other – currently around 39% of marriages are.

Interfaith marriages bring with them a unique set of questions. How will God and spirituality be discussed in the home? Whose church will the children attend? Where will the marriage take place? Some worry that interfaith marriages dilute the faith of each spouse, leaving two people less strong in their convictions and beliefs. However, there are also significant upsides to interfaith marriage. Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell in their book American Grace, found that the more Americans got to know people of another faith, the more they liked them. Likewise, research by Naomi Schaefer Riley showed that marrying someone of another faith tended to improve one’s view of that faith.

For that 39% of couples, how can they best navigate this aspect of their relationship to get the most ... Read more »


Butting Out of Your Relationship

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“I love you, but you’re being ridiculous right now.”

“I’m sorry you’re hurt, but what I said was true.”

“I shouldn’t have done that, but you shouldn’t have said what you did.”

All three of these statements are ones you may have said or heard in your own relationship, and as well intended as they may be, they are completely useless. The first part of the statement – the apology or admission of love – is retracted as soon as it is followed up with a contradicting “but.”

The word “but” is: “used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned,” and therefore is the last thing you want to hear following a compliment or an apology. Yet so many of us seem to rely on that double edged tactic.

I hear statements like these a lot in session with couples in distress. As they try to communicate with one another, they struggle to allow themselves to be left defenseless. Years, months, or even weeks of feeling like enemies rather than teammates has left each partner feeling ... Read more »


Three Ways Emotional Suppression Hurts You

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Could suppressing negative emotions actually harm relationships more than help them? Holding back, reducing, or inhibiting ongoing emotions is known in the research world as “emotional suppression.” And we’ve all experienced emotional suppression. If you have ever hidden a worry to avoid worrying someone else or suppressed negative emotions that could lead someone to judge or dislike you, then you have experienced emotional suppression. Emotional suppression is especially common in close relationships. Unfortunately, this common occurrence can interfere with the development of intimate relationships relationships in the following ways:

It can decrease intimacy.

Emotional expression (the opposite of suppression) has been shown to be an essential part of developing closeness and intimacy, and unexpressive partners have often been found to seem disinterested, uncaring, and distant. It’s harder to be authentic.

Who wants to feel fake in a relationship? Individuals who suppress emotions also tend to feel less authentic or true to themselves. Research has suggested that feeling “fake” in relationships leads to more distance between partners and less relationship satisfaction. It decreases marital quality for newlyweds.

In addition to the research that suggests that emotional ... Read more »


Let’s Talk About Sex!

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Sex. It’s everywhere! It’s on TV, movies, the internet, magazines. And yet, for many couples, sex remains somewhat a mystery. Many couples enter into sexual relationships assuming that their sex lives will be like what they’ve seen in the media, only to find that *gasp* it’s quite different. So then they turn to magazines and internet articles, searching for tips and tricks on improving their sex life, only to find that what those articles recommend just might not work for them. So, where can you find foolproof techniques for improving your intimate relationship? Turns out that researchers have been searching for that answer…

New research from Australian scholars shows that communication between partners about their sexual relationship can significantly increase sexual satisfaction in couples. Simply stated: talking about sex with your partner can improve your sex life. Now, this may seem like a no-brainer. But many new couples avoid talking about the details of their sex lives together because of fear, embarrassment, or not wanting to hurt their partner. How can you and your partner talk about your intimate relationship? ... Read more »


Sex is Just a Hot, Delicious Pizza

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How do you discuss sexual activity? Although many of us may not play the sport, or have even seen a game, Americans seem to love comparing sex to it’s “favourite pastime:” baseball. Baseball metaphors dominate our sexual vernacular with phrases such as “hitting a home run” “first, second, and home base” “strikeout” and “batting for the other team.” While these comparisons seem to be nothing more than easy ways to be demure in your speech, Al Vernacchio points out that baseball, or any sport metaphors, do very little for healthy sex.

“It’s competitive, it’s goal related, and it can’t result in healthy sexuality developing in young people or adults, so, we need a new model,” explains Vernacchio in his 2012 TED talk. What kind of model? One that revolves around something everybody loves: pizza.

To explain exactly how much more effective and accurate the pizza model is for describing sex, Vernacchio compares baseball and pizza in regards to three key components of sexual activity.

When and How Sex Happens. Baseball

When do you play baseball? Generally, there’s a specific season for it. ... Read more »


5 Ways to Have a Better Conversation

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Every day is full of conversations and communication, or at least it should be. Because of the technology centered nature of the world, face to face conversation has become secondary to emails, texts, Snapchats, and Facebook messenger. While this is a benefit in many ways, it can also become a hindrance on establishing close and meaningful interactions.

As conversation and mutual self-disclosure has been found repeatedly to strengthen familial, friendly, and romantic relationships, it makes sense to want to build upon that skill to ensure that every conversation we have is a good one.

5 Ways to Have a Better Conversation   Don’t multitask

As a result of using technology to enhance every day, all of us have become both masters and failures at multitasking. We find ourselves constantly splitting our attention between different activities simultaneously, yet research indicates we are not nearly as effective as doing so as we may think. If you want to be engaged in a conversation BE ENGAGED. Ignore texts, tasks, and technology in general to be present. Partners who experience disengaged (or multitasking) conversations have ... Read more »


To Fall in Love with Anybody Try This…

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Did you know you can fall in love with someone simply by asking them 36 personal questions? Such a concept was first introduced in 1997 by researcher Arthur Aron and has been producing results in participants since then.

The set up is simple. A heterosexual man and woman enter a lab separately, they sit face-to-face and ask a series of increasingly more personal questions, taking turns to answer. They then hold silent eye contact with each other for four minutes. As simple and silly as may sound, there have been significant results, the most notably being two participants who were married six months after completing the experiment.

But what is so magical and romantic about this study? Does it matter what 36 questions are asked or how they are answered? According to the study’s authors, yes. The 36 questions are separated into three sets, with each set becoming more personal than the last. The concept that the study is based on is that mutual vulnerability creates closeness. As Dr. Aron explains,

“One key pattern associated with the development of ... Read more »


The Least Helpful Phrases of Your Marriage

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“You’re not doing it right.”  “These dishes go here.”  “Did you grow up in a barn?”

These phrases, or similar, may be familiar to you if you have ever lived with a romantic partner.  You probably heard them when you were trying to be helpful and ended up causing a fight because you weren’t “doing something right.”  If so, then you have experienced what scholars call Gatekeeping.

The purpose of a fence is to either a)protect something or some area or b)establish an area as someone’s property.  The gate, however, is the way for another to enter that area.  If we open the gate, then we are welcoming that person into our personal space and showing that we want them there.

Likewise, most of us have specific ways we do things, especially household tasks.  One person may sort their laundry by color while others sort it by fabric type.  Some may like to have all the dirty dishes cleaned and put away before going to bed at night while others like to do it in the morning.  But whatever our preference, we ... Read more »


What To Expect Even When You’re Not Expecting

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It appears that almost everything in life comes with some sort of How-To guide. Whether it’s How to Ace a Job Interview or How to Assemble Your Ikea Furniture, there always seems to be someone who has prepared a step-by-step process to get you through any challenge that comes your way. One of the most life changing experiences someone can go through simultaneously appears to have both no guide and all the unsolicited advice you could ever ask for. I’m of course referring to the wonderful and terrifying experience becoming a parent.

While there are hundreds of books dedicated to parenting any kind of child you could imagine, there is one particular part of the experience that gets a lot less attention: the transition from being a couple into being parents. How do you successfully prepare for children with your partner? Here are some areas couple should focus on as they begin to prepare for or consider having children.

If, when, and how many?

The first decision facing a couple is whether or not to have children. Becoming a parent ... Read more »


Successful Texting in a Modern Age

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The way we date has drastically changed over the years. Our grandparents met friends at sock hops or dances, and went steady. Our parents stressed over calling each other, worried that they may have to ask a parent, “uh, oh, hi… is Stacy there?” These days we have Tinder, Snapchat, and texting to help us try to navigate the dating scene and hope we come out victorious.

One issue many single adults find in trying to lock down a date is how to do so successfully. Due to the dependence many of us have on our phones and laptops, we find face-to-face interactions daunting and at times almost impossible to arrange. Instead of calling for a date, many rely on text messaging, but that can lead to many issues. Maybe the person doesn’t respond in time for the date, maybe they accept, but think you’re just “hanging out” together, maybe they ignore you completely and claim they never received the text.  Clearly, texting is not an ideal form of communication.   

Actor Aziz Ansari researched what he calls our Modern ... Read more »