Two Simple Suggestions to Help Love and Marriage Last 50 Years… and Counting!

Golden Anniversary

Ed and Loretta

I’ve been married a long time. This summer my husband and I celebrated 50 years together. Yep, you read that right – FIFTY. People have been asking me “What advice do you have for someone who is still at the beginning of the journey?”

What to say? How to describe what works and what doesn’t work in a marriage, or in any relationship, for that matter? There are certain days when some things work out fine. There are other days when the same interaction just fizzles.

I’ve narrowed it down to 2 Simple Suggestions:

1. communication

Not just talking, but really communicating means looking at one another, actively listening, speaking up and being honest.  Did you get that? – LOOK, LISTEN,  SPEAK UP, BE HONEST.

LOOK. This sounds obvious, but how many times have you tried to have a conversation with someone who is not only not looking at you but is often either tapping on a cell phone or has their eyes closed? Pay attention to your interactions and you will both get more out of the conversation.

LISTEN. To listen means to not simply hear something but to actively focus on what is being said and to understand it. If something is not understood, it is up to you to ask for clarification. Don’t assume you “got it” when there is still something about the exchange that was vague.

SPEAK UP. Say what you want to say. If you hold back and walk away feeling that there was more to be discussed, the fault is yours. Remember that there is nothing wrong with expressing yourself. Just make sure your delivery is considerate. Very few points are well made when shouted.

BE HONEST. You know the difference between the truth and the non-truth. If you leave things out or purposely turn an explanation around to suit the moment, it will come back to haunt you. Get it right the first time. Do that by simply being honest.

Love and Marriage 50 Years

(not us)

2. Keep Trying

Relationships are not easy. It makes sense that two people coming from different backgrounds with different needs and sometimes even different values have to work to sustain their love and friendship through the long-term. When times are tough and you know you have a relationship worth saving, putting in the effort is totally worth it.

HOW VALUABLE IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP ? I’ve had clients ask me how long they should KEEP TRYING. They ask “How do I know if it  is really worth saving?”  I can’t answer that – only you can. The question you need to ask yourself is whether YOU really think it is ‘worth it.’

Consider basic questions like:

  • Am I being respected?
  • Am I being considered?
  • Am I getting as much as I am giving?

Coming up with honest answers to these questions is a good place to start your evaluation.

DON’T GIVE UP EASILY. The road is full of bumps and frustrations (as well as  joy and satisfaction), and it is up to you to do what you can to smooth things out when that road gets rough. But some things you can control and some you can’t. You have control over YOURSELF and your actions. Relationships require a ‘team’ effort, and this means that each person is giving their best towards the common goal.

So, find your voice and be heard; listen when your partner is the one doing the talking, and always keep trying to live the life of your dreams. I wish you happiness and good health, love and laughter, and a strong and cherished team that lasts at least 50 years!

Loretta

Photo Credit: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Antonio_Diaz

Help Someone Shift to Positive Thinking

Positive Thinking Jumping for Joy

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Dee21

Sometimes people just need a little help to shift from negative thinking to positive thinking.  When your kids, friends or co-workers start complaining and being negative with ‘poor me,’ ideas, YOU can be the person who turns it all around.

Here’s an example from a recent morning … one of the women who work at the Membership Desk at the YMCA wasn’t busy when I checked in. She looked bored, so I smiled and engaged her in conversation:


            Me:  How’s your day going so far?

            Her: Much better now that I’ve had my coffee and woken up. 

            Me:  Did you have a late night?

            Her: No.  I’m just used to sleeping in now.  I have to change that schedule when I begin teaching.

            Me:  When do you start?

            Her:  August 1st – that is sooo soon.  Summer was way too short.

            Me:  It’s all in how you look at it.  Try telling yourself, “Wow! There are

             still two and ½  weeks left of summer.  I have time to do some fun

            things.”  (I paused for a moment.) So, what are you going to do?

            Her: (thinking) I don’t know.  (Soon she starts talking fast.)  I’ll go to the pool a lot; I’m doing a 5K ‘Run in the Dark’ next week; and I’ll work and make some extra money and go shopping.

  (And she flashed a big smile with eyes shining in all directions.)


Why fight negative thoughts?  First of all, positive people get more out of life; and secondly positive people are much more fun to be around, which in turn spreads positive feelings in all directions. They tend to be more energetic, try new things, and certainly enjoy life more.

Just remember that people are in charge of their own thoughts.  Of course, there are times when you will have doubts and feel negative. That’s normal. The question is do you let yourself believe those thoughts or do you acknowledge the negative ones and then move on to replace them with a better outlook.

Here is an interesting infographic for you to consider. (By the way, an ‘infographic’ shows information and data graphically in a simple, clear and quick way.)

http://www.happify.com/hd/how-to-stop-negative-thoughts-from-getting-you-down-infographic/?srid=hfp

In my MAKE HAPPY A HABIT campaign, I shared how doing five simple things every day for 30 days can actually help you rewire your brain toward happiness. My Accomplish-Coaching Instagram @makehappyahabit has 30 days of daily encouragement to spread around.  #makehappyahabit

Make Happy a Habit with Loretta Saff

Five Simple Steps to MAKE HAPPY A HABIT

1 – Practice Gratitude: First thing each morning say out loud three (3) things you are grateful for.

2 – Journaling: Before bedtime, write down one good thing that happened that day.

3 – Meditation: Spend 2-5 minutes listening to wordless music, focusing on either the music or your breathing.

4 – Exercise: Exercise at least 20 minutes a day.  If you are short on time, this can be done in two 10-minute intervals.

5 – Be KindPerform a random act of kindness.  Hold a door for someone; compliment the salesperson who helps you or surprise an old friend with a phone call or email.

Sometimes people just need a little help.  Remember that when you start your day.  Whether it’s your child, a friend or a co-worker, YOU be the person who helps shift a mood from negative to positive.

The great thing about your being the spark for others is that  you’re also helping yourself. Negative thoughts get pushed aside, and suddenly you find yourself surrounded by positive people!

Now, doesn’t that sound nice?

Life is Good

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Nelosa

Loretta

Parenting in the Digital World

I’ve written two Handbooks for parents, grandparents and other caretakers to support their efforts in dealing with kids. I hope these small books help build confidence and inspire people as they face the challenges and awesome responsibility of caring for children.

10-Great-Tips-for-PARENTING      10-Great-Tips-for-Grandparenting-by-Loretta-Saff

In today’s world the responsibility of caring for children has a new and more complicated distraction:

With the ever-present devices that hold us hostage, how do we raise kids in the digital world?

Sure, we all like our phones and tablets and readers and computers and Fit Bits and, and, and.  Sure, they can serve a real purpose in our daily lives. At the same time they can be a real distraction.  The challenge is finding the right balance.

Is your child addicted to his/her device? I know, that’s a scary word. But what happens when you try to take the device away? Tantrums? Attempts to hide the device? Insults hurled your way?  Refusing to interact with others? Those are signs of addiction.

I am a big believer in ‘Training to avoid Treatment.’ This means that if you train your kids in the use of electronics early on, you – and they – will be in a better position to deal with the pervasive presence of digital devices and not need ‘withdrawal treatment’ when they get older.

Here are a few ideas of how you can help guide your child along the digital path – while guiding yourself at the same time.

First of all, let me emphasize that I understand that parenting is hard. There are so many unpredictable situations that you find both yourself and your kids in where the frustrations mount and sometimes you start to doubt yourself.  Don’t allow that to happen.

STOP. WALK. BREATHE

When you find yourself in the heat of the moment and are ready to shout, STOP. Walk away for a few minutes, and slowly take five deep breaths. Regain your focus and your confidence to remember that your job is to protect and guide your kids to grow into caring, responsible adults. Kids need to learn how to do this, and you are the teacher.

Teaching your kids that spending too much time on devices is not good for them will help them make better choices as they grow up.  In the meantime, right now they need exercise and time outdoors playing.


Do children have too much screen time and does it matter how much time they spend on iPads, smartphones and laptops?

Help them understand that it is important to have social time with real people.  

BE A ROLE MODEL

In my 10 Great Tips for Parenting Handbook, one of my important guidelines is BE A ROLE MODEL. We all know the positives of electronic devices. They help with research, contacts, taking pictures, recording moments, offering entertainment, and so much more. But you must remember that you are being watched. It’s what kids do.

Consider the amount of time you spend on your devices. Take a day and write down how much of your time is spent texting, googling, searching, and scrolling. This includes talking on the phone. Notice how often your focus is taken from NOW by that ringing, dinging, flashing little electronic rectangle that is on your lap or on the table during a meal or a conversation. Find out what percentage of your day actually is spent with technology.  Then cut it in half.

KEEP SCREEN TIME KID SAFE

Be sure you know what your kids are watching and doing while they are using electronics. As I said, taking control when kids are young is a lot easier and it creates a habit. There are ‘kids safe’ apps out there so children don’t accidentally come across something inappropriate.

Monitor what your kids are looking at and how long they are having ‘screen time.’ Check on them periodically to see what and how they are doing. Set the limits for both time and subject and stick to them.

But wait a minute!

Ok, so now you say, “Come on, get with the program.  It’s 2016 and the reality is that it’s all about electronics.” I’ll simply leave you with this article: (Hint: it’s about new research that shows how excessive screen time may inhibit a child’s ability to recognize emotions.)


Kids And Screen Time: What Does The Research Say?

Don’t let that happen to your kids! Be the teacher and the role model for how to balance time spent using technology.  Now, go outside and play with them.

Loretta