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Category Archives: My Favorite Things

Strive 2 Succeed’s Favorite Things – The Gift of Laughter

One of PG’s words of wisdom is, “You live, you learn and then you buy LUVS.” I would like to add-on to this profound quote. “You live, you learn, you laugh then you buy LUVS.

Laughter is an underrated aspect of marriage. If you and your spouse can laugh together and each other it can help sustain your marriage during those roller coaster moments. I am convinced that my marriage to ‘PG’ has lasted  these 15 years because we have been able to laugh.

Laughter is contagious. It’s also beneficial to life and marriage.

Benefits of Laughter

  • Reduction of stress and tension
  • Stimulation of the immune system
  • An increase of natural painkillers in the blood
  • A decrease in systemic inflammation
  • Reduction of blood pressure
  • Lifts your spirits
  • Brings couples closer together
  • Can help keep a relationship fresh.

There are other medical benefits than the ones listed above. Our cardiovascular and respiratory systems, for example, benefit more from twenty seconds of robust laughter than from three minutes of exercise on a rowing machine. Through laughter, muscles release tension and neurochemicals are released into the bloodstream, creating the same feelings the long-distance joggers experience as “runner’s high.” We agree. We have experienced several of these moments and , especially after watching multiple episodes of ‘The Office’.

Being able to laugh at each other is a totally different matter. There are several components needed in order insure laughter doesn’t turn into pain. You will need mutual trust, respect for one another and a positive view of yourself. The reason why these components are important because a practical joke, or if your spouse  is constantly laughing at your shortcomings can quickly cause a strain in your marriage. If you feel that your spouse has crossed the line, don’t hesitate to call them on it.

 Since “The number of cardiac deaths is higher on Dec. 25 than on any other day of the year, second highest on Dec. 26, and third highest on Jan. 1, according to the Circulation study, lets learn to laugh a little more. It  just may save your life, not to mention your marriage. To paraphrase Henry Ward Beecher, “A marriage without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every pebble in the road.”

 

 

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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in My Favorite Things

 

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Strive 2 Succeed’s Favorite Things – Gift of Perseverance

As we are headed into the homestretch before Christmas there is some alarming things going on! Folks are giving out ‘gifts of divorce’ for Christmas. I’m not surprised that this is happening, but I am surprised right before the holidays.

In the past couple of weeks Kobe & Vanessa stated they were ending their marriage, and just this past weekend Deion Sanders let all of his FB friends know that he would be single this Christmas. Celebrities aren’t the only one’s getting divorced. I just heard of an acquaintance of mine that was headed to divorce court. It’s already stressful enough deciding what to get the kids for the holidays, you are also going to add the fact that you also will be staying in a different house.

Divorce is not on Strive 2 Succeed’s list. Coach Keith is giving out the gift of perseverance as one of his favorite things.

Anyone can begin the marathon of marriage, but it takes great perseverance to finish one.  We quit when things get difficult, so the difficulty wins and we lose.  When we keep at something in spite of the difficulties we encounter, we’re beginning to win!

It’s similar to owning a home, when you first open the front door for the very first time, it’s a wonderful thing. You can’t wait to decorate it, add new furniture and have your first party. As the years go by, and you live in your home long enough, things start to break down, or even worse your house suffers major damage due to a natural disaster. Do we abandon our homes? No! We salvage what we can until we rebuild. We perservere. Marriage should be the same way.

Marriage and other close relationships require perseverance. In the beginning marriage is great. Left to itself, a marriage will wind down and the couple will drift apart. As soon as that storm of constant arguing, or infidelity, the natural disaster of marriage, lands in your marriage, we  cut our losses.

It takes perseverance to keep a marriage, or any relationship, alive and growing deeper. For Christmas and in 2012, I challenge those of us who are married to persevere at making it work. If you have allowed yourselves to drift away from saying nice things to each other, treating each other with respect, making each other laugh, and providing delightful moments for each other? It’s never too late to turn things around. We all know our mates very well. Think of just three things you could say or do that would please your mate.

 

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in My Favorite Things, Uncategorized

 

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Strive 2 Succeed’s Favorite Thing’s – Gift of Praise

I remember when I first heard that your spouse is your cheerleader reference in regards to encouragement for your spouse. It was on my “wedding day”.  When I heard my pastor use the phrase, I smiled because I fondly recalled the moments when our Westwood cheerleaders would shout us to victory on the basketball court with various rhythmic chants encouraging us to Fight! Fight! Fight! My wife ‘PG’ on the other hand didn’t enjoy the reference at all. One, because she was never a cheerleader. Two, she felt it was a more submissive role.

Ladies and gentleman, do you feel  a little skittish when it comes to praising your spouse. Let me tell you from a relationship coach’s perspective, praise can go a long way to securing your partner’s place in the relationship. Here are some other reasons why praise is helpful.

  1. Praise will help validate to your peace of mind. That what they are doing in the relationship is good and they will strive to continue these activities.
  2. In the beginning, marriage can be a series of trial-n error moments especially if you don’t participate in the Strive 2 Succeed marriage course. Praising your spouse can help ease the anxiety about marriage.
  3. You gain confidence in your ability to pursue your goals, especially if you are trying something new like a new venture or career.

So here is a couple of things to consider. As a wife do you need to give the gift of praise to your spouse? How can you get in the habit of expressing admiration?

As a husband, do you need to receive the gift of praise? How can you communicate that praise is essential to maintaining a strong  relationship with you?

I hope this helps get your praise on!

Coach Keith

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2011 in My Favorite Things

 

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Strive 2 Succeed’s Favorite Things…Gift of Generiosity!

I know it’s not Christmas time or your spouse’s birthday, but you can still get them a gift that will last longer than anything you will ever buy. Generosity!

According to the National Marriage Project out of the University of Virginia, men and women with the highest scores on the generosity scale were far more likely to report that they were “very happy” in their marriages. The benefits of generosity were particularly pronounced among couples with children. Among the parents who posted above-average scores for marital generosity, about 50 percent reported being “very happy” together. Among those with lower generosity scores, only about 14 percent claimed to be “very happy,” according to the latest “State of Our Unions” report from the National Marriage Project.

Generosity is defined as the virtue of giving good things freely and abundantly and encompasses small acts of service, the expression of affection, displays of respect, and a willingness  “to forgive him/her for mistakes and feelings.

So where are three ways you could be generous with your spouse?

Be generous with your possessions. My wife, “PG”, and I always stress not only to ourselves, but to our kids that “My money is his/her money.” What that shows the kids and each other that we are committed to building something together, and not apart. It took me a little longer to accept this practice. The reason was based on the fact I only had a sister growing up and we didn’t have to share as much, and PG had sister’s and sharing was a way to strengthen their bond with one another. By allowing your spouse access to the things you cherish creates a bond of strength.

Be generous with access to your personal space. Opening up your physical space can serve as a protection mechanism for your partner. Being open giving and receiving hugs, or intimate touching. This is something that could go along way and could help increase your sex life.

Be generous with your advice and support
There maybe times when you see that your partner is floundering and may need your help. Don’t sit on the sideline. Offer support and guidance even if they aren’t open to it at the time.

Finally, take delight in your opportunity to support your spouse. You may be the one that benefits the most by giving.

Coach Keith

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in My Favorite Things

 

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Strive 2 Succeed’s Favorite Things – The Gift of Protection

When you get married, you become comfortable. For some of us, too comfortable and we let our guard down. So when attacks come, you often wonder how did this happen to me? You didn’t exchange the ‘Gift of Protection’ with your spouse. This is essential if you want to maintain a healthy successful marriage.

What are 5 bows are needed to wrap around our ‘Gift of Protection’

Emotional Integrity

This is a very delicate subject, since in general woman are known to be emotional, and men tend to be emotionless. In reality a women wants a man with emotional depth, but she herself may not be at the level. The main reason, the relationship is based on fear. According to Don Miguel Ruiz. author of The Mastery of Love, he states, “When we are in a fear-based relationship or marriage it’s full of obligations. In the track of fear, whatever we do is because we have to do it, and we expect other people to do something because they have to do it. We have the obligation, and as soon we have to, we resist it. The more resistance we have, the more we suffer. He later goes on to say..”in a relationship there are two halves..your half and your spouse’s half. Of those halves, you are only responsible for your half; you are not responsible for the other half. So in essence, master the half you can control, and not the half you can’t.”

Escalating Conflict

You must agree how you will talk to your spouse when the storm of conflict arrives. Reduce the f-bombs when possible. Determine where and what time of day you will work out your conflicts. Seek a win-win solution by using such techniques as pro vs. con lists or 1-10 importance values. We use them in the boardroom, why not the bedroom?

Infidelity

When we think of protection, infidelity immediately is the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s usually other factors that cause infidelity to occur. Here are some things that you can do to minimize steppin’ out.

  • Make a commitment to grow in your marriage (inside and out).
  • Use positive talk to help aid the choices you make. Utilize a daily poem, a song, or prayer that helps you focus on importance of your marriage.
  • Talk to your spouse about what actions are off-limits and make a pont not to get close to it. If you have ever been on a subway, or train, there is a big yellow line that says, “Please don’t cross.” (I guess Herman Cain never took the subway!)
  • Find someone with integrity that will hold you accountable.

Time

This can be challenging especially for all the obligations you have to give to the kids, the job etc…Neglecting this protection mechanism can easily lead to the one I just mentioned.

Tip: Find at least 3 activities that the both of you enjoy doing and make a point to engage in at least one of them a week.

Friends and Family

Friends and family can implode your marriage from the inside-out if you don’t quickly respond to threats. Friends and family at times are very selfish and can impede upon your boundaries. Don’t let them under any circumstances derail your marriage with negative talk  or disrespectful actions toward your spouse.

If you give the “Gift of Protection’ to your spouse with these wonderfully wrapped bows on them, you will have a wonderful marriage filled with joy and peace.

Coach Keith

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2011 in My Favorite Things

 

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Strive 2 Succeed’s Favorite Things – The Gift of Patience

I remember watching Oprah’s My Favorite Things episode in years past and seeing how excited the guests would get when that first gift was revealed. Even if you weren’t physically in the audience, you couldn’t wait to see what gifts she selected.

For the month of December, Coach Keith will reveal his favorite things that are needed to help strengthen your relationship and the best part you won’t even have to pay taxes on it.

My first gift is the gift of Patience.

Being patient is a skill that isn’t developed too  easily, especially if you are impatient by nature, but it is essential in order get through challenging times in our relationship.

So how do you develop this skill?

Think of this simple acronym A.E.R. (Acknowledge, Examine, Reframe)

First acknowledge the moments where you find yourself getting frustrated by your partner’s actions. If you write them down and take a step back, you may find that you are confusing the actual event. For example you may find that you get easily frustrated by how your spouse doesn’t discipline the kids with his manhood.

Second, examine where your thoughts are coming from. Your impatience may be based on what your partner “should” or “must” do in their role as spouse. Psychologist Albert Ellis identified a particular kind of thinking that can lead to big hurdle to patience: Holding onto the mindset that certain events “should” or “must” be a certain way—or that your spouse/partner should act based upon your expectations.

When you think in such extremes (e.g., “My marriage should make me happy”; “I must be the perfect wife”), you set yourself up for considerable disappointment and frustration, since you ultimately don’t have control over how your partner will behave or react to you or certain situations.

Finally, reframe your negative thoughts to help increase your patience. Instead of getting frustrated at your spouse for not instilling discipline for your kids, say this to yourself, “I will handle this without my partners help. I will instill the discipline.”

Focusing on positive statements will help  improve your ability to deal with frustrating marital/relationship issues, your relationship will be more resilient and ultimately more satisfying. Practice this skill frequently and before you know it, your patience will grow by leaps and bounds. Patience is often contagious– you may find those around you becoming more patient.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in My Favorite Things

 

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