Childrearing 101 (Marriage Series pt. 4)

The task of raising a child is a lot harder than it looks. It is especially hard when both parents (whether biological or non-biological) are involved. Now many will say isn’t it easier to raise a child with two parents? In reality it is not; with one parent you have one way of doing things, one way of life and one level of expectation but conversely when you have two parents you have two distinct ways of looking at things and two distinct ways of getting things done this is where the difficulty can come in.

The theme of this series this week is marriage and believe it or not the easiest part of your marriage will be getting to the part in which you say “I do” and profess undying love for one another; everything that comes after that is hard work and raising your kids is no exception.

When you look at marriage for what it really is, two people coming together who share a common bond, a common love and sometimes common children. Living life should be a easy undertaking but children do make it a hell of a lot more interesting. When you have two distinct personalities attempting to converge on one task at hand things can get a little mixed up and signals can get crossed. You have one parent wanting to do things one way and the other parent wanting to do things a totally different way; this is where you need compromise. In order to raise well-rounded individuals you both must possess the same desire and the same drive for your children or it will never work. One child cannot be treated one way and the other child be treated completely different. Now don’t get me wrong I am a firm believer are in treating each child as an individual as they all will have distinct personalities and require markedly different parenting techniques. The thing that must remain consistent in raising our children is love, trust, openness and communication. Those things cannot waiver from child to child.

Far too often parents get caught up in the act of being their child’s friend and not in being their parent. Typically in a marriage in which there is discord over how to raise the children it is usually because one parent plays the role of disciplinarian and the other parent plays the role of the more fun and exciting one. Children will figure this out and understand which parent place which roll by the time they reach adolescence and will be able to exploit each individual parent for what they want. When children do this it effectively causes a wedge between the two parents instead of between the parents and the child where the wedge should be. Kids are very smart like that. Remember as I said earlier they are in fact mini adults.

To get around marital discord with regard to child rearing the number one thing you must remember to do with your partner (and always will be in every situation) is communicate!



Surviving Infidelity (Marriage Series pt. 3)


Infidelity or more commonly known as the act of cheating; whether it is emotional or physical tends to be the most damaging facet to a marriage. We tend to go through life thinking that the world revolves around us as an individual and our own personal happiness. This way of thinking is what most commonly leaves a person to cheat. Personal gratification. Be it prolonged or immediate the need for personal satisfaction tends to reign supreme with most people.

A lot of people tend to think that there is no coming back from infidelity; but with hard work and dedication a marriage can actually survive. To rebuild and restructure our relationship after infidelity has occurred is extremely hard though. It will take work from both parties involved to be successful. What hurts the most from an act of cheating is rarely the act itself but rather the loss of trust within the marriage. Trust just like communication is the foundation of any great and successful relationship. Just as I have stress before you need to effectively communicate your wants and needs to your partner you must also trust and be trusted by your partner. Trust just like love is not given rather it is earned.

The hardest thing to overcome is a lost of trust. If your partner does not trust you or conversely if you do not trust your partner your relationship is destined to fail. Now many will question how do you come back once trust has been damaged and or lost? The answer is quite simple believe it or not you must rebuild the trust you must rebuild the communication that was evidently lacking that led to the infidelity.

We building trust is not an easy endeavor. In order to do so you must essentially tear of the relationship apart and start all over fresh. This is even true in relationships that have spanned decades. You must go back to the fundamentals of understanding how and why you loved your partner or your partner love Jew in the first place. You Must strive to get back to the place in which you both fell in love. The place in which you saw no one but that person. The place in which you wanted to be with no one other than your partner.

To understand and overcome infidelity you must understand the different levels of infidelity. Cheating can occur on two fronts; emotional cheating, and physical cheating are two different things. Both are equally damning but both can be overcome. Emotional cheating occurs when you emotionally invest into another person that is not your partner. This can be in person, over the telephone or over the Internet. When you find yourself talking and sharing emotionally with another person that is not your partner or you find yourself hiding call logs, email, inboxes and/or text messages you are already cheating on your partner. This commonly occurs when there is a lack of intimacy and communication within your marriage. Physical cheating we all know is the active having sex with another person that is not your partner. Plain and simple. This occurs most commonly when there is a perceived deficiency with regard to sexual intercourse within your marriage.

These are the most basic and most common breakdowns of the two forms of infidelity. Now many will make him myriad of excuses as to how and why they cheat; the fact of the matter is no matter the reasoning it is still cheating it is still wrong and he can steal destroy your marriage. There is no excuse for cheating of any kind. Cheating in itself is a conscious choice that is most commonly made for selfish reasons.

People like to look at their relationship and assume they are missing something and rather then sit down and communicate these deficiencies with their partner they choose to satisfy those wants, needs and desires via another person.

The cheating is detrimental all is not lost. You can come back from it but you must be willing to be open, honest, and completely vulnerable to bearing your strengths, weaknesses and miss deeds to your partner. You must be willing to humble yourself completely and disclose everything holding nothing back and fully allowing your partner to make the decision as to whether or not they want to continue with the marriage. Some people choose counseling, some people choose to work it out in house so to speak, and many choose to ignore it and sweep it under the rug and just act like it did not happen and continue on with their marriage. No matter your approach, the desire and the need to reconcile our relationship after infidelity has occurred rests solely with the individuals within the relationship.

It sounds very cliché to say but the easiest way to overcome infidelity is to never let it occur in the first place. Be open with one another, communicate effectively with one another, trust one another, love each other unbiased Lee and without expectation and most importantly be true to yourself with regard to your wants, needs and desires. Love your partner as you yourself desire and deserve to be loved.

Talking vs Communicating (Marriage Series pt. 2)


Many people would have you believe that talking and communicating are the same thing. The truth of the matter is you can talk to someone and not effectively communicate with them. A lot of conversations we have are just merely one person talking to another person very rarely are we as individuals communicating with one another.

In order to talk all you have to do is open your mouth and allow the words to come out; the words don’t have to have any depth and/or meaning they just have to be present. The things that come out of your mouth are not effective and do not communicate full and cognizant thoughts until you put some thought behind your words.

To effectively communicate you must do more than talk; you must listen, you must speak with clear intent and you must believe in what you are saying to some degree. We as human beings have loved to talk since the beginning of time. From the moment our primal grunts and moans evolved into words we were well on our way to being the top species in the food chain. The funny thing is all living creatures communicate with one another; meaning they talk to one another in one way or another to convey a thoughts and/or feelings. Just because we form what we now know to be words does not make us any more effective in our communication tactics then any other species. In actuality the reverse may be true. Animals communicate with direction and expressed intent and we oftentimes just talk for the sake of talking. We will never know how effective other species’ communication skills are  as compared to our own.

Now with regard to relationships and marriages communication is Paramount. You must be able to effectively express what you were thinking and feeling to such a detailed degree that your partner will have a full understanding of what you need and want.

I have said many times before that we like to talk just to hear ourselves talk. We as individuals like to be heard and we also like to be right but fundamentally that is still not communicating. The one thing we need to do in order to survive in any type of situation but especially a marriage is communicate. We must learn to talk but also we must learn to listen and really hear our partner. To fully hear someone and receive their message we must be open to the message that they are conveying. We must be willing to accept truths and perceptions about ourselves that we may not believe and/or embrace. We must stop talking just to be heard. We must be willing to step outside of ourselves and understand that the universe does not revolve solely around us as an individual. There are other people who matter just as much as we believe we do. In doing and embracing all these things, ways of life and feelings we will be able to move forward and grow as individuals enough that we will have the ability to move on and communicate with one another to such a degree that not only are we listening but we are also hearing; not only are we talking but we are also communicating.

Sex vs Intimacy (Marriage Series pt.1)

Let’s face it we are a visually and sexually charged society. Everything we do is contingent upon our physical reaction to people, places and things. Very rarely is our perception of something or someone impacted by how we feel and it’s sad to say that marriage is no different. In a perfect world every marriage would be filled with love, honesty and the willingness to grow and compromise. But since that’s not the case let’s dive in to the core of what most marriages have a problem with.

It is sad to realize that in this day and age many adults don’t know the difference between sex and intimacy. Many have been led to believe that sex and intimacy are one in the same and that is furthest from the truth. Sex and intimacy are markedly different and the sooner we understand that the happier we as human beings can be.

The reason that I say sex and intimacy are two different things is due in part to the fact that sex is a physical act nothing more nothing less and conversely intimacy takes place on a physical and emotional level. This is why individuals can have sex with someone they don’t like, someone they are not attracted to and/or someone they have no intention of reproducing with or building a future with.

Let’s take a moment to look at the two and how they differ…

Sex is defined as “either the male or female division of a species especially as differentiated with reference to the reproductive functions; the instinct or attraction drawing one sex toward another or it’s manifestation in life and conduct.” Now that is the most basic definition of sex but to delve a little deeper and look at it as a verb and/or action sex is defined as “to arouse sexually; to increase the appeal of, to make more interesting, attractive or exciting.” Those two different definitions come from the English dictionary but to look further at the British dictionary’s definition for sex it is defined as “feelings or behavior resulting from the urge to gratify the sexual instinct.” This would be the more accurate definition for what we are talking about.

In discussing a physical act one must take a moment to look at what the act is. When looking at sex in the physical form it is just that, it is a physical act taking place between two entities; and since we are humans we are looking at sex between humans regardless of gender sex is an act that can, does and will continue to take place until this world is no longer in existence.

Most problems in a marriage arise with sex at the forefront when both parties don’t have a clear understanding of what sex really is. Notice in all the definitions listed there is not one reference to feelings and/or emotion and that is solely because the active sexual intercourse has nothing to do with either.

Once you strip away all the bullshit and propaganda surrounding sex and sexuality you will see that sex was created so that the human race can reproduce and continue the cycle of life that was it…nothing more.

Now intimacy on the other hand is a whole other ball game; it is something that many of us have yet to fully understand and/or master.

Intimacy is defined as the state of being intimate; a close, familiar and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person; and act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection or the like; the quality of being comfortable, warm or familiar. In looking at all those definitions notice that there is no mention of physicality; all of those definitions are indicative of something that you feel.

Therein lies our quandary…

Believe it or not a relationship can survive without sex but conversely will wither and die without intimacy. Sex is something we as human beings do because it feels good, because we are trying to have a child or because we are attempting to connect with another human being on a deeper level. Intimacy on the other hand is not something we strive to do and/or accomplish it is simply something that we experience like a moment in time.

Within a marriage many individuals hit a wall when they cannot find a healthy balance between sex and intimacy. Married couples have to first understand each parties views on sex and intimacy. Too many in today’s society tend to believe that sex is everything when in fact it is a minuscule portion of a relationship. We have been so desensitized to feeling and embracing real emotion that we tend to only lend credence to those things that are tangible meaning we can feel them immediately and/or touch them within the moment. And that my friends is exactly what the definition of sex is; it is physical. Due to a lack of misunderstanding and miseducation we no longer look at the emotional and psychological aspects of our relationships. Intimacy occurs within a marriage when the parties connect on a deeper level. It occurs within the moments of the marriage; the loving gazes, the handholding for no reason at all, the slight touches and caresses that happen out of the blue completely unprovoked, the sitting in the bed watching television, the reading of a novel together. Those were just examples of intimate moments but they happen in some marriages all day every day with no immediate sexual gratification being reached; that is true intimacy.

The sooner we begin to understand the differences that exist between physical and psychological the sooner we will be able to find peace within the confines of marriage.

When two people have two completely different views on what they want and need from their mate there will always be dissension and unhappiness. Know the difference. Embrace and understand them both. Communicate your view points to your partner. And fully understand your needs.

When all those things are done; that is where you will find a healthy and happy correlation between sex and intimacy because though they are very different they are also very complementary to one another.

Running vs. Restructuring (pt. 2)


Restructuring is defined as:

1. to change, alter or restore the structure of

2. to effect a fundamental change in (as in organization or system)

3. to restructure something

Now as it relates to interpersonal relationships this can be viewed as a good (and a bad) thing. Overall, change is always needed but not necessarily always welcomed. Relationships are constantly growing, constantly evolving as we humans change on a daily basis and in a relationship that can mean a lot of things.

The key to restructuring is knowing what exactly it is that you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to fix (restructure) a relationship or are you trying to start over as an individual and fix (rebuild) yourself?

Something does not necessarily have to be “broken” to need fixing. Most things require a minor tweak or two from time to time to keep them running smoothly. For instance, if your oil light comes on, you don’t junk the car…you take it to be tweaked (oil change) but subsequently if your entire electrical system goes out you may elect to junk that particular vehicle because the cost and time required to fix the problem may be too much for you to handle. The trick is knowing when to say when.

Knowing when you as the individual must take precedent over the relationship is paramount in relationship survival (or demise).


Running vs. Restructuring (pt. 1)


Running is defined as:

1. the act of a person, animal or thing that runs.

2. managing or directing.

3. an act or instance of running.

Now, nowhere in those definitions do you see anything that pertains to a relationship and that’s simply because you cannot run from a situation. I’ll get back to this point.

In a relationship, many people choose to think that when things go wrong they can (or should) just run away from the problem and it will fix itself. Most people accomplish this by just shutting down altogether and/or leaving the relationship. Neither of these tactics will ever work because (once again) you cannot run away from a  situation. Situations/relationships have to be worked out, restructured and or resolved.

Working it out – Communication is imperative (I say this a lot) and is needed if one is ever to resolve issues of any kind. Shutting down only leads to further discontent and small pockets of issues that never get resolved. This leads to further issues and resentment.

Restructuring – After a healthy line of communication has been established (healthy meaning that both parties not only talk to each other but are fully heard by each other) couples can get to the restructuring (rebuilding) of their relationship (if applicable). Rebuilding after massive issues in a relationship can be hard but necessary if the relationship is to last.

Resolving – after all has been said and done there will be decisions to be made and sometimes the only way to resolve an issue is to let it go. Each relationships resolution will be different contingent upon ALL the factors that caused the issue in the first place in addition to how those issues were handled.

More to come in part 2 in which we will discuss how to effectively restructure something that has been damaged.