Passover has already begun and we're smack in the middle of Holy Week with Easter right around the corner on Sunday. So, lots of people are going to be spending time with their in-laws. It's an opportunity for bonding and an easing of tensions. Or it can be a time of stress and arguing. It's up to the people involved how the day goes. Here, we've offered some advice, so everyone survives and maybe has a little fun to boot:
My husband and I have had to live on different continents at various points in our marriage. But until yesterday, we had been together for our longest consecutive stretch ever - one and a half years. Now that he's gone again, I am contemplating distance and the heart. When you're together every day, you do tend to take each other - or at least the fact that you're in the same room in the same country - for granted. When you're apart in a long-distance marriage, you remember to treasure every glance, every hand held, every kiss, and all the rest. I guess what I'm saying is that it is true - at least for us - that distance makes the heart grow fonder. What about for the rest of you in long-distance marriages? Does distance make the heart grow fonder or just angrier?
Trust is the crux of a good marriage. It makes you feel secure in a world that is anything but secure. Once trust is gone, it's tough to get it back. That's why I was intrigued to hear about how one couple is facing a breach of trust and an empty nest at the same time. When the wife turned to an ex-boyfriend after her daughters went off to college and she was left at home with hubby, who no longer seemed to have much in common with her, the marriage faced crisis. Her husband found out about her confiding in her ex and now the uphill battle to regain that sense of security is on. Find out what their chances are in "Empty Nest and Breach of Trust."
Cell phones and other technology threaten your relationship. © Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
My husband is happy to play with his phone all day long. Seeing him lying on the couch with that thing on his hand has become the equivalent of nails on a blackboard for me. I have the urge to grab it from his hands and throw it out the window, especially when I'd prefer he play with our son, help me with some chores, or actually talk with the people sitting in front of him. But technology is part of our lives. In a few days, he's going to be returning to his native Italy, and my son and I won't be joining him for a couple of months. We're staying put in the United States. This means that technology will become our friend again. It will be our means of communicating and staying close despite the ocean between us. So goes my love-hate relationship with this digital age.
Other couples have their problems with technology, too. It's easy to let e-readers, laptops, phones, and other gadgets get the best of us. It's not fair to our spouses. So, I got in touch with April Masini, the relationship guru of AskApril.com, and turned her advice into rules for the digital age. Check it out and save your marriage from modernity.
I realized marriage wasn't at all as I had imagined it about an hour into mine. We were in a lovely hotel room on the beautiful Italian island of Ischia, the birthplace of our ancestors, and I had 3,000 little elastics that needed to be removed from my hair, a dress the size of the island that I couldn't get off, and I needed to fart...badly. So, I let one go, and I told my new husband that he married me for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and that meant flatulence was part of the deal. It also meant, he'd be helping me get out of this get up and all those elastics. He did, and it was far from the last time that marriage wasn't so pretty.
If you're recently married or about to get married, I don't want to sugarcoat things for you. Marriage is hard, and it can be ugly. Often, it will include one or both of you feeling gassy. While I encourage you to enjoy every minute of wedding planning and engagement, I think you need to realize that the magic of one day is just that - the magic of just one day. That's the first step in facing the realities of a lifetime of commitment. The hard work really begins after that one day. In the hopes that you can learn from the mistakes of many a bride and groom before you, I've published, "5 Ways to Ruin a Marriage before It Starts." Read it and avoid being that spouse. Please.
Marriage is tough. Marriage when you are parenting is tougher. My son is only 2, and my husband and I have already had disagreements about his upbringing. We mostly agree on the big stuff. But the every day discipline - should we do time out yet or wait until he's older, what is the proper way to teach him to share? - gets us to argue sometimes. It's the kind of thing we can get past. We are doing time out for two minutes when absolutely necessary, and we're practicing "my turn, your turn" with his cousins on the sharing front.
As they say, "Little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems." So, I'm bracing myself for the future disagreements about parenting. And I've already seen how serious problems with kids can get in the way of a couple's marriage. Here's some help with parenting and marriage:
A long while ago I wrote a story about how to deal with the differences that arise when you and your spouse have different religions. Since it's the time of year, when religious holidays, such as Easter and Passover, might bring up some of these issues, I decided to update the article by adding helpful links to other relevant content. You can check out the changes at "7 Tips When You Marry Outside Your Religion."
The New York skyline welcomes couples every night of the year. © Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
I've decided to take back the night. This phrase has held many meanings over the years, namely on college campuses as a pro-women shout out calling for safer streets and protection from crimes against women, such as rape. I'm all for safety and security of women, both inside and outside of marriage, but this time around I'm talking about taking back the night for my husband and me. There was a time in our life when we had joy and romance and things were exciting. We spent a lot of time discovering New York City (see photo above), which is close to our home and my old stomping ground. Granted, I expected things to slow down and get a little more routine once we were married, and especially now that we have a son. But every once in a while I decide to take back the night, to insist that we break out of the routine. During the last two weeks, we have gone out to eat twice, and we did some light shopping over the weekend. We even held hands in the car once. Our son tagged along, but that just made the time together even more precious. And it has me encouraging all of you to take back the night, too.
A bride kisses her groom in Ischia, Italy. © Photos by Elite Foot
Folks around here are gearing up for wedding season, which is just around the corner. To get myself ready for the big white dresses, sparkly receptions, and make-me-cry vows, I decided to surf the Internet. What I found was totally unexpected. It's kind of dark, but I just couldn't turn away, very much like a train wreck. I came across wedding confessions on various sites. Of course, the confessions are anonymous, so there's no fact checking on this stuff. But there was a bride who lost her virginity on her wedding night... to the limo driver instead of her groom. Another groom who slept with the bridesmaid. And a wedding guest who had slept with all the groomsmen and the groom. I'm not sure I'd have the guts to attend such an event, but I digress. Beyond sex, there were people who enjoyed partying with their friends and family well after the wedding ended (hurray!) and brides who thought the groom would have been better off with someone else (so sad!). You can visit the confessionals yourself. Here are some of the lists that turned into my guilty pleasure this afternoon:
And the most revealing (err, disturbing) of the lists -
Everyone's marriage could use a little zing to wake it up, keep it fresh, and make things just a little more exciting. The trouble is that lots of people, especially the newly married, think that "improving" anything, but especially your relationship, requires a lot of time and effort, neither of which anyone has nowadays. Don't worry, neither do I. The truth is if you are not facing some serious crisis in your marriage, then you probably could take some small, easy steps to more bliss. So, I spent a little of that time I don't have to come up with a list of ways you could improve your marriage starting right now. You literally can read this and immediately employ a suggestion and see if it helps. Besides, you could get a few more kisses and a lot more security out of the deal. So, just go for it.