Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Thursday, August 22, 2013

How to Stay Together When One’s a Neat Freak and One’s Messy

Lori & Bob Hollander, Guest Authors

No one warned us 25 years ago that one of our major challenges would be how neat or messy we kept our home. Bob and I have struggled with this issue for years. I was the more meticulous one and Bob was, shall we say, more relaxed about how the house looked.

MessyKitchenWe often argued about who was right. I felt clothes should be put away each day and Bob thought putting them away once a week was enough. I liked the bed made up in the morning. He said, “Why make the bed when you are going to sleep in it again at night?”

When I came home from work I knew exactly what he’d had to eat since there would be a trail of wrappers and cups left wherever he had consumed them. When he came home to me there was no trash left around.

I thought the dishwasher should be emptied every morning so dirty dishes didn’t pile up during the day. Bob didn’t mind putting away the clean dishes at night and then loading the sink full of dirty dishes from that day, or even from the day before. When I cooked I cleaned up as I went along so there wasn’t such a large mess to clean up afterwards. Bob felt it was more efficient to make a full mess and clean it all up after we ate. Our tolerance for mess and clutter was at opposite ends of the spectrum.

We had countless arguments about this like many couples. Here are just a few of the comments you would hear in our home:

“You never clean up after yourself! I can’t stand it anymore. How many times have I asked you to wipe the crumbs off the counter so we don’t get ants?”

“You are so compulsive. Why does everything have to be perfect? It’s always got to be your way. You don’t know how to relax.”

Notice the focus is on justifying our own position and blaming the other for his/hers. One day we finally started to talk about our underlying feelings and dug deeper to find the root of the problem.

unmadebedI realized that when the house wasn’t straightened up, I couldn’t relax. I was very sensitive to and aware of my environment. Bob realized that he didn’t even notice when the house was a mess because it didn’t bother him; he could let things go until he felt ready to do them.

When we started listening to each other’s perspective without making the other one wrong, is when we began to solve the problem. He began to understand how stressful it was for me when things were in disarray and I saw his point of view, that it was ok for the house to look “lived in.” We compromised and worked toward the center. And we appreciated the other: I noticed when he cleaned up for me, and he noticed when I would let things go so we could spend part of the evening together. Now Bob and I joke that in our relationship OCD married ADD.

How does this issue play out in your relationship? Are you miles apart in your tolerance for clutter? Do you compromise on this or is it a chronic conflict?

Next time this issue comes up for you and your partner remember the following:

• Don’t make your partner wrong. Everyone has different views about the degree of cleanliness and clutter in the home.
• Ask your partner to explain his/her feelings about the issue. Listen to each other and respect your partner’s point of view even if you don’t agree with it.
• Work together to come to a compromise.
• Encourage each other by appreciating when your partner does something the way you like it.

BONUS Article: Splitting the Household Chores
Pick Up Your Socks!!!
13 Ways to Get Dad to Help Out More Around the House
Hey, Guys and Gals… What About Housework? Are You Sharing?
For Men Only – More Housework… More Intimacy!

Copyright © 2013 – Lori & Bob Hollander. Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, and Bob Hollander, JD, LCSW-C, are licensed counselors and co-founders of Relationships Work, an innovative therapy practice and online resource center. Together, they encourage couples to consciously co-create their relationships in order to achieve a deeper, more intimate connection. You can visit Relationships Work online at: http://www.RelationshipsWork.com. Follow them on Facebook.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Till Death Do Us Part???

I really hate to be the bearer of bad news… but “till death do us part” isn’t working very well, at least in Arizona.

Arizona is one of 14 states where divorce rates are higher than the national average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau report, which used data from the 2009 American Community Survey. The Census Bureau found that divorce declined noticeably around the country between 2008 and 2009, but not necessarily in Arizona and there was no explanation for it.

neverrushWhen I began performing wedding ceremonies in 2002 one of the first things I did was to take out the words, “till death do us part” from the wedding ceremony. Not because of divorce stats, but because I felt there was a much better way to say the same thing differently. Those words are usually in the wedding vows that the bride and groom repeat to each other. I substituted the words with, “I say these words because I love you and choose to live the rest of my life with you.” Many ceremonies do not have a place in the ceremony where the bride and groom say, “I love you” to each other unless they write those words in. The words I added accomplishes both things… “I love you” and “choose to live the rest of my life with you.” Talking about death in a celebration of Love just doesn’t seem right to me.

It’s sad that many couples have no idea what it really takes to have a healthy relationship that lasts. Although it is not required, I always suggest that it’s a good idea to get a premarital “tune-up” before they tie the knot by getting relationship coaching. I also encourage them to consider the “potential” of coaching especially if one of the partners isn’t really in favor of coaching.

I can tell them what they might accomplish if they work together, but they both have to look forward to and have a “belief” in the potential that comes from that accomplishment. When that happens, the often begin to feel a closer connection and think of reasons why the relationship will work. When a couple is deep in the mire of discomfort, it is often not easy to think about the potential of the relationship. If they can understand the how they might feel toward each other if that discomfort is gone, they often will begin to do the work necessary to get their act together.

I say all that to say this… forget about “till death do us part” and focus on the present moment – moment by moment, day by day, week by week, etc. Relationships – the ones that last – takes a mutual intention to the type of commitment that has couples do “whatever it takes” to make them work and last! In other words, a mutual focus on the relationship – making the relationship a top priority.

It’s not going into the marriage hoping it will work, but knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that both partners are ready for marriage and committed to settling down and dealing with the little things as well as the big things that often show up when two people get together. Remember, women and men are different. It’s important to learn about those differences “before” marriage, otherwise you are in for a few surprises. Adapt. That’s a word that hopefully will help.

Jumping into marriage hoping your partner will change after marriage is a plan destined to fail. Life doesn’t work that way.

It worries me when talking with couples about their wedding and I ask, “How long have you been together?” and they say 4 months or 6 months or even a year. STOP! Think! Is that really enough time to get to know each other? It’s doubtful.

Dr. Karen Sherman, MFT, NCC, PhD, offers a few questions that you should discuss before the wedding. Honestly communicating the answers to these questions will assist you in getting to know each other better.

• Will you have kids and, if so, how will you raise them?
• Will they be raised under one religion?
• How do you expect to discipline them?
• How will you manage your finances?
• What individual assets and debts will you bring to the marriage?
• Who will pay the bills?
• Will you have a savings plan?
communicate2• How will you save?
• How will you spend free time?
• How do you expect to spend it – together or individually?
• Will you still have time with friends that doesn’t include each other?
• Do you have expectations about sex?
• How often will you have sex?
• When is a good time?
• How will you keep your sex life from getting boring?
• How will you share sexual fantasies and desires?
• Do you have any boundaries when it comes to intimacy?
• How will you divvy up chores?
• If your spouse cooks dinner, are you expected to clean the dishes, pots and pans?
• Who will keep up with the maintenance around the house?
• Who will mow the lawn or take out the trash?
• What can you do to openly communicate?
• How can you make sure that you keep your communication as good as it is now?
• How will you make sure to handle your conflicts appropriately?
• Will you check in with each other at the end of the day or once a week?
• What can you do as an individual to make sure that you keep the health of your marriage a priority?
• Do you have any annoyances?
• What annoys you?
• What annoys your spouse-to-be?
• How will you let each other know when certain habits or behaviors bother you?
• How is it best to tell the other person about things regarding family that are upsetting?
• If the relationship is needing help, will you be brave enough to ask for help?
• and the list goes on!

One question I would add is, “Ask yourself why. Why this person, why right now?”

You cannot be a commitment-phobe. Acceptance. Another important word. Learn to accept the little annoyances.

A relationship is something that must be worked on all the time, not only when it’s broken and needs to be fixed. It’s making darn sure each partner is doing what it takes to be committed to making it work. It’s not easy. But then nothing worth while is seldom easy.

AND… if you are having issues, never be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is not a weakness. Asking for help demonstrates a need to make the relationship one you can be proud to be in.

Larry’s NOTE: Every bride and groom I marry receives a “Relationship Coaching Certificate” ($120 Value) good for one hour of free coaching anytime after the wedding ceremony.

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Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (96 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Splitting the Household Chores

Filed under: Household Chores — Larry James @ 7:30 am

It’s official: no one likes doing chores. You’d always find that strange kid in high school who actually liked to do homework, but show me one person who actually likes to do all the chores that have to get done around the house and I’ll be truly amazed.

Chores are the most mundane part of being married, but believe it or not lots of couples have huge fights over chores. In the beginning, when first dating, couples generally do everything together: shop, cook, clean, and walk the dog. But shortly after saying our vows – or even before that – we fall into more familiar, even stereotypical, roles. “Part of this has to do with our role models – our parents,” explains Samara Fabrick, LCSW, a couples therapist in Beverly Hills. “But another part has to do with practicality. We naturally gravitate toward things we’re good at.”

cleaningutensilsGuys! This is for you! Nowhere is it written that the woman should do all the housework! Nowhere!

Before you begin to argue over whose turn it is to do the dishes or who has to take the trash out, it’s a good idea to split up the chores – newlywed style – in a way that’s agreeable to the both of you.

Like everything else about getting married, this should be addressed before the wedding. Newlyweds are often surprised to find that the division of household chores is something that can be difficult to work out. Often, there is no attempt to make an equitable division, and this creates hard feelings on the part of the spouse who feels that they do more than their fair share.

One of the biggest deciding factors on who is going to do what type of chore is who is going to be home and who is not. Some couples have similar work schedules, but quite often, in today’s economy, one spouse is working much later than the other, or on days that the other spouse has off.

Before you can begin to split up all the household chores that you have to get done, you need to make sure that you set realistic goals. You can’t expect someone to take out the trash every Friday morning, for instance, if they have to be at work at 7 a.m. on a Friday. Take their work load into consideration before you even begin negotiating.

When you start splitting up the chores, volunteer to take everything that you truly enjoy doing. Do you like making meals? Do you not mind folding laundry? Could you run the vacuum sweeper? Make a list of everything that you actually enjoy doing. If you both like to do similar things, you can bargain for things that you dislike to do, like taking out the trash or sweeping the floor.

While some couples divide up each and every chore, others are more fluid in their division. For instance there are many couples where the wife is in charge of most of the household chores (with a few thrown in for the man), while the husband is in charge of vehicle and yard maintenance. Or vice versa. Split the chores up you both are neutral about, either by agreement or by chance.

GroceryListJobs that only need to be done occasionally may need to be put into a job jar and each party draws one out per week to do during the next week. Seasonal work can be handled together as a team.

Aim to do more than your fair share. This sounds like it goes against the principal of dividing up household chores equitably, but, in fact, if you have this attitude, you’ll find that your spouse will adopt it too and try to make things easier for you.

In the beginning it may be wise to do the grocery shopping together. If the wife usually does most of the shopping she may have favorites that she consistently buys. The husband would be smart to learn what these items are so he will not be returning things that may not be what she needs if she is doing the cooking.

What works best for you is what’s important, and that you both agree on the division of labor. And remember: if you ever start to have an issue over the chores that you’re supposed to be doing, don’t get upset or passive-aggressive, actually talk to your spouse about the situation. Be flexible. Bargains and changes can always be made!

Larry’s Note: A special “Thank you” to Danielle Tate, Founder and President of http://www.MissNowMrs.com/ for inspiring this article.

Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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