Monthly Archives: April 2016

Planning for remarriage

A marriage that brings with it children from a previous marriage presents. Such families should consider three key issues as they plan for remarriage:

  • Financial and living arrangements. Adults should agree on where they will live and how they will share their money. Most often partners embarking on a second marriage report that moving into a new home, rather than one of the partner’s prior residences, is advantageous because the new environment becomes “their home.” Couples also should decide whether they want to keep their money separate or share it. Couples who have used the “one-pot” method generally reported higher family satisfaction than those who kept their money separate.
  • Resolving feelings and concerns about the previous marriage. Remarriage may resurrect old, unresolved anger and hurts from the previous marriage, for adults and children. For example, hearing that her parent is getting remarried, a child is forced to give up hope that the custodial parents will reconcile. Or a woman may exacerbate a stormy relationship with her ex-husband, after learning of his plans to remarry, because she feels hurt or angry.
  • Anticipating parenting changes and decisions. Couples should discuss the role the stepparent will play in raising their new spouse’s children, as well as changes in household rules that may have to be made. Even if the couple lived together before marriage, the children are likely to respond to the stepparent differently after remarriage because the stepparent has now assumed an official parental role.

Marriage quality

While newlywed couples without children usually use the first months of marriage to build on their relationship, couples with children are often more consumed with the demands of their kids.

Young children, for example, may feel a sense of abandonment or competition as their parent devotes more time and energy to the new spouse. Adolescents are at a developmental stage where they are more sensitive to expressions of affection and sexuality, and may be disturbed by an active romance in their family.

Couples should make priority time for each other, by either making regular dates or taking trips without the children.

Parenting in stepfamilies

The most difficult aspect of stepfamily life is parenting. Forming a stepfamily with young children may be easier than forming one with adolescent children due to the differing developmental stages.

Adolescents, however, would rather separate from the family as they form their own identities.

Recent research suggests that younger adolescents (age 10-14) may have the most difficult time adjusting to a stepfamily. Older adolescents (age 15 and older) need less parenting and may have less investment in stepfamily life, while younger children (under age 10) are usually more accepting of a new adult in the family, particularly when the adult is a positive influence. Young adolescents, who are forming their own identities tend to be a bit more difficult to deal with.

Stepparents should at first establish a relationship with the children that is more akin to a friend or “camp counselor,” rather than a disciplinarian. Couples can also agree that the custodial parent remain primarily responsible for control and discipline of the children until the stepparent and children develop a solid bond.

Until stepparents can take on more parenting responsibilities, they can simply monitor the children’s behavior and activities and keep their spouses informed.

Families might want to develop a list of household rules. These may include, for example, “We agree to respect each family member” or “Every family member agrees to clean up after him or herself.”

Stepparent-child relations

While new stepparents may want to jump right in and to establish a close relationship with stepchildren, they should consider the child’s emotional status and gender first.

Both boys and girls in stepfamilies have reported that they prefer verbal affection, such as praises or compliments, rather than physical closeness, such as hugs and kisses. Girls especially say they’re uncomfortable with physical shows of affection from their stepfather. Overall, boys appear to accept a stepfather more quickly than girls.

Nonresidential parent issues

After a divorce, children usually adjust better to their new lives when the parent who has moved out visits consistently and has maintained a good relationship with them.

But once parents remarry, they often decrease or maintain low levels of contact with their children. Fathers appear to be the worst perpetrators: On average, dads drop their visits to their children by half within the first year of remarriage.

The less a parent visits, the more a child is likely to feel abandoned. Parents should reconnect by developing special activities that involve only the children and parent.

Parents shouldn’t speak against their ex-spouses in front of the child because it undermines the child’s self-esteem and may even put the child in a position of defending a parent.

Under the best conditions, it may take two to four years for a new stepfamily to adjust to living together. And seeing a psychologist can help the process can go more smoothly.

Thanks to James Bray, PhD, a researcher and clinician at the department of family medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

What is the useful of your marriege

If you are worried about the future of your marriage or relationship, you have plenty of company. What makes-the numbers even more disturbing is that no one seems to understand why our marriages have become so nice.

In pursuit of the truth about what tears a marriage apart or binds it together, I have found that much of the conventional wisdom–even among marital therapists–is either misguided or dead wrong. For example, some marital patterns that even professionals often take as a sign of a problem–such as having intense fights or avoiding conflict altogether–I have found can signify highly successful adjustments that will keep a couple together. Fighting, when it airs grievances and complaints, can be one of the healthiest things a couple can do for their relationship.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned in my years of research into marital relationships–having interviewed and studied more than 200 couples over 20 years–it is that a lasting marriage results from a couple’s ability to resolve the conflicts that are inevitable in any relationship. Many couples tend to equate a low level of conflict with happiness and believe the claim “we never fight” is a sign of marital health. But I believe we grow in our relationships by reconciling our differences. That’s how we become more loving people and truly experience the fruits of marriage.

Although there are other dimensions that are telling about a union, the intensity of argument seems to bring out a marriage’s true colors. To classify a marriage, in my lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, I look at the frequency of fights, the facial expressions and physiological responses (such as pulse rate and amount of sweating) of both partners during their confrontations, as well as what they say to each other and in what tone of voice they interact verbally.

But there’s much more to a successful relationship than knowing how to fight well. Not all stable couples resolve conflicts in the same way, nor do they mean the same thing by “resolving” their conflict. In fact, I have found that there are three different styles of problem solving into which healthy marriages tend to settle:

o Validating. Couples compromise often and calmly work out their problems to mutual satisfaction as they arise.

o Volatile. Conflict erupts often, resulting in passionate disputes.

o Conflict-avoiding. Couples agree to disagree, rarely confronting their differences head-on.

Previously, many psychologists might have considered conflict-avoiding and volatile marriages to be destructive. But my research suggests that all three styles are equally stable and bode equally well for the marriage’s future.

“HEALTHY” MARRIAGE STYLES

One of the first things to go in a marriage is politeness. As laughter and validation disappear, criticism and pain well up. Your attempts to get communication back on track seem useless, and partners become lost in hostile and negative thoughts and feelings. Yet here’s the surprise: There are couples whose fights are as deafening as thunder yet who have long-lasting, happy relationships.

The following three newly married couples accurately illustrate the three distinct styles of marriage.

Bert and Betty, both 30, both came from families that weren’t very communicative, and they were determined to make communication a priority in their relationship. Although they squabbled occasionally, they usually addressed their differences before their anger boiled over. Rather than engaging in shouting matches, they dealt with their disagreements by having “conferences” in which each aired his or her perspective. Usually, they were able to arrive at a compromise.

The Best Things For Your Marriege

Many couples discover that they can renew and even revive their marriage after the kids have left home.

Acquiring an empty nest is an important milestone in your marriage and certainly triggers the need for adjustment and even reinvention – not just for you as a couple but as individuals too.

 But heh, every cloud’s got a silver lining right? So check out the many fab things about your newly empty nest:

Family Relations when the Kids have Left Home

–      You miss your kids and your kids miss you!

–      You appreciate each other more.

–      You communicate in different ways – it’s great to receive updates from the kids by phone, message, email or text – plus video calls, shared videos and photos are just the best!

–      Because you aren’t together all the time when you do meet up there’s a real buzz!

–      No more bickering kids – or at least far less of it!

Daily Living – Just the Two of You

–      There’s actually hot water when you want a shower

–      There’s no dirty laundry on the floor (unless your husband is still a culprit!)

–      It’s not on the floor because you don’t have to wash it – minimal laundry – yay!

–      You return home and the house looks exactly how you left it! No tidying or cleaning to do.

–      You only have yourselves to think of – no chauffeuring commitments, chores for the kids or family meals to make.

Money Matters

–      You may well be paying hefty tuition fees but boy the water, electricity and food bills sure seem to have shrunk!

–      That means more disposable income for YOU – Fancy a holiday? Feel like updating your house or even selling up and downsizing? How about spoiling yourselves with some new clothes? Don’t go crazy but after years of putting the kids first, if you have spare cash; spoil yourselves a little!

–      Think about the future; retirement is getting closer so now is the time to do some financial planning together.

Your Post Empty Nest Marriage

–      You have the time and the money to focus on yourselves – now you just need to remember what it was that you used to enjoy doing before the kids absorbed all your time… or discover new hobbies and past times.

–      You can have sex… any time, any where! What’s stopping you!

–      You now have more time, money and hopefully energy to focus on your marriage – so why not rediscover each other emotionally and physically. Take the opportunity to re-ignite a marriage that may have lost its spark.

Empty Nest Divorce

‘Empty nest divorces’ or ‘grey divorces’ are on the rise – in fact they have doubled in the last 20 years. Many couples ‘stay together for the sake for the sake of the kids’ and then divorce when they feel that they are no longer ‘needed’ in the same way.

But having an empty next need not be a trigger for divorce, in fact it should be quite the opposite. Why not use this transitional phase of your marriage to make new plans and grow together as a couple. Whatever your starting point, even if you have both drifted very far apart, take the time to listen to each other’s hopes and dreams for the years ahead and get excited about all that is now possible. Put the spotlight on yourselves and seek out ways to improve your marriage now that the kids have flown the nest.  May you be one of those couples who embrace an empty nest and your marriage changes for the better.

Is there a soulmate waiting for you

Is there one perfect person out there in the world for you? And, if so, how to find it ?

What is a soulmate?

When the idea of soulmates first emerged in the 1930s, it was seen almost as a magical connection between two people destined to be together. These days, we tend to think of a soulmate more as a person we can connect with and are compatible with – someone who shares the qualities that we feel are most important to us.

Does your soulmate exist?

The question of whether your soulmate exists is a very personal one. If you’re looking for someone, you may already have an idea in your mind of the important qualities they should or shouldn’t have.

Narrowing down the field like this can help give you an idea of what sort of person your ‘soulmate’ might be – their age, their interests, their hopes and dreams, and maybe even what they look like. Some of these qualities will be ‘deal-breakers’.

But here’s the exciting part: most of us don’t actually know what we’re looking for until we find it. According to relationship research, there isn’t really a specific set of factors that can accurately predict how well you’ll get along with someone. Some of your deal-breakers may even go out of the window if you find someone you really click with .

What are the odds of finding the right person?

If you choose to believe mathematician Peter Backus, the odds of running into your perfect partner are about 1 in 285,000 on any given night. That’s a pretty scary thought, so let’s break it down and see how he arrived at this figure.

In 2010, Backus wrote a paper called ‘”Why I don’t have a girlfriend” using maths to explain why it’s so difficult to meet the right partner. His theory went something like this:

  1. How many women are there who live near me? (In London -> 4 million women)
  2. How many are likely to be of the right age range? (20% -> 800,000 women)
  3. How many are likely to be single? (50% -> 400,000 women)
  4. How many are likely to have a university degree? (26% -> 104,000 women)
  5. How many are likely to be attractive? (5% -> 5,200 women)
  6. How many are likely to find me attractive? (5% -> 260 women)
  7. How many am I likely to get along well with? (10% -> 26 women)

As you can see, he left himself with just twenty-six potential partners, figuring his chances of running into one of them would be about 1 in 285,000 .

Put like this, it might seem the odds are really stacked against you, but it should all be taken with a pinch of salt – the sums were adapted from an equation devised to estimate the number of alien civilisations in our galaxy. So let’s take a look at what you can do to increase your chances.

How to find your soulmate

Hannah Fry, a slightly more optimistic mathematician, has delved a bit deeper into the figures. She says you can increase your chances of meeting the right partner by being active, getting out into the world, and approaching more people. Granted, this will probably increase your odds of being rejected, but it will ultimately increase your chances of meeting someone who ticks your boxes.

Even though our idea of soulmates is broader than it used to be, research tells us that people tend to have much higher ideals these days than in previous generations. But, despite our expectations being higher than ever, we are also happier when we enter into relationships that really work.

That doesn’t mean you won’t have to work on your relationship, as the two of you change and develop together, but the belief that your relationship is ‘meant to be’ is a good start. People who see relationships as something that can grow and improve, tend to be happier in the long run.