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Want to Extend Your Summer Romance?

Posted By: on September 7, 2014
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romance

Not all summer romances have to come to an end, and now that the weather is cooling down and the leaves are turning, you have an important decision to make: Should you extend your warm weather romance? There are many considerations and, of course, your partner needs to be on the same page. It used to be that summer romances were considered fleeting because people are naturally more carefree and amorous while on vacation and also because anyone meeting on a summer vacation might be facing a long distance relationship.

These days, the idea of adults having ample vacation time in the US to even develop a summer romance is rare. Your paramour is probably living in the same region as you already. Plus, even if long distance is an issue, with the latest technology there’s Face time, video chatting, WhatsApp, texting and social media to keep the flames burning across the miles. Just because you’re gearing up to store your summer goodies doesn’t mean you need to shelve your romance, too.

Don’t wait to have the talk

If one of you is heading out of town for good, give yourself ample time to have “the talk.” You deserve to know what your partner’s thinking, and adding extra stress with a time crunch isn’t going to do anyone any favors. Be up front and transparent, because that’s what this situation deserves. Saying something like, “I really enjoy being with you, and I’m wondering where you see this going from here on it,” is a great way to start the conversation.

Today, there are many more long distance relationships that work, but that doesn’t mean it should be a given. It’s pointless if you don’t see your lives aligning again in the future without a lot of sacrifices. For example, if both parties are in college on opposite sides of the country, giving up your college experiences in order to wait for someone you’ve only known a few weeks is a poor move. If you can, stay friends and keep in touch, but don’t give up the chance of meeting someone else great just because you’re holding out for a summer fling.

When it works

If you’re lucky enough to both be sticking in town for the foreseeable future, the bigger question is whether or not your partner sees this as a fling. There can be a lot of expectations heading into the holidays. Family travel, the big New Year’s date and of course winter couple activity staples like visiting pumpkin patches and tree farms are right around the corner.

The sooner you have the talk, the sooner you can start planning for the rest of 2014 (with or without your partner).

 

Read On

5 Signs You’re Ready for a Relationship

Posted By: on July 29, 2014
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loveready

Don’t get into a relationship just because you’re lonely, “at the right age” or because you’re tired of hearing family members ask about when you’re going to settle down. However, do actively seek out a healthy relationship when you’re ready for it. This will happen at different times for different people, but there are certain experiences to enjoy first as well as signs you’re ready. Is a relationship in your future?

Maybe you’re planning date ideas but have no one to be your partner in crime, or maybe you’re truly tired of the bar scene. Consider these signs that you’re gearing up to leave single life behind, and take favorable steps towards the transition.

1. You’d have zero single life regrets if you got married tomorrow

You probably have a friend or two who settled down too early, well before they got all their wild, crazy single stories behind them. However, you’ve reached a point where you have plenty of bad date stories and flings under your belt. You’ve lived single life to the fullest, and now you’re ready for the next step.

2. You’re financially secure

This isn’t because you want to support someone, but it shows you’ve got your ducks in a row. Like attracts like, so what it’s only fair that you get from someone else what you bring to the table. Nobody wants to get serious with someone who can’t handle their finances.

3. You’re realistic in what you want

There’s a fine line between having a serious “dream list” that has you nixing potential paramours for ridiculous reasons and having decently high standards. You’re not asking anything you can’t deliver yourself, and while there’s a sprinkling of vanity (hey, everyone has preferences for hair color, etc.) the bulk of your want list is made up of genuine characteristics.

4. Your baggage is checked

Depending on your age, some baggage might be expected such as a previous marriage. However, if you do have baggage, it’s been checked and not impacting your life today. Be honest with yourself and if you’re having trouble with it, there’s no harm in checking in with a counselor.

5. Most other aspects of your life are on track

While finances are a biggie, there are many other parts of your life that should also be on track before delving into a relationship: This includes enriching hobbies and a solid core group of friends. When “your house” is in order, you’re prime for that special someone to come on over.

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TopCultured Legends

Gillette Thinks: You Should Kiss and Tell

Posted By: on January 22, 2013

  Gillette wants us all to be a little happier by kissing more. In this amusing documentary, the history and current lack of make-out sessions in the world is tackled, and solutions are pursued. If Read On »

One Man’s Junk Is Another Man’s Steampunk

Posted By: on August 20, 2011

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder….Behold. (Via: SRISUWAN SKAN)

Perfect Eggs for Mothers’ Day

Posted By: on May 6, 2011

With Mothers’ Day this Sunday, you may be planning to bring breakfast in bed. If you do, here’s an idea to put the message in the eggs.

Tricks to Balance Your Relationships … and Everything Else

Posted By: on April 24, 2014
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healthyrelationships

Summer romance is right around the corner. If you’re up for incorporating some love into the hottest months of the year, it can be a big balancing act.

This can be especially tricky if you have summers off, whether you’re a college student or professor, since you really want to make the most of these months of freedom. It might seem normal to spend as much time as possible with your paramour when in a new relationship, but does that mean it’s healthy?

To a certain degree, it might be, but you can risk doing more than isolating your friends if you get all wrapped up in your new love. You could miss out on some great opportunities seeing the summer through those rose tinted glasses.

Most people look back with some regret when it comes to giving up something else in their life for love, whether it was studying abroad that freshman year of college, or not pursuing that re-certification through an online course to further your career.

Go into the season of romance with a plan of action so you can strike the perfect balance.

Write it down

There are probably a few goals you want to accomplish this summer, from a certain amount of road trips to taking a new class. Write down a feasible list of goals, and make sure they’re within reach.

Then you should resolve to expect any new love interest to participate in 50 percent of these special goals. These are for you to pursue, and adding romance to the mix can be fun, but not all of the time.

Make sure that each of these goals fits into your schedule of work or other commitments, and that you have the financial resources to make them happen. Otherwise, it’s too easy to put them off with the excuse that you just don’t have the cash to go for it.

Schedule dates with everyone

Those who have been there for you for years deserve some quality time, so make dates just like you would with your (potential) significant other. Your friends, family, and anyone else you see when you’re 100 percent single want to see you (and just you) for those happy hours or bike rides.

“Dating” isn’t something reserved solely for romantic couples. You can make the most out of seeing people in the summer, when the daylight stretches well into the evening.

Make plans, keep them, and focus on your listening skills when you’re with people. Your loved ones will appreciate it, and you’ll the summer a productive one in every possible way.

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Is Will Smith Straying From Jada?

Posted By: on November 11, 2013
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Things are often crazy for celebrity marriages … and they get even crazier when Scientology gets into the mix. Although Will Smith hasn’t been jumping on any couches lately or “auditioning” for mistresses, the rumor mill has been ablaze for months with whisperings that Will is going behind Jada’s back with a much younger woman.

Regarding one of Hollywood’s longest-lasting couples (although that’s really not saying much), Star magazine recently “outed” Will in the unfortunate effort to prove that this is yet another marriage that’s about to go bust.

Photographic evidence has been supplied that shows Will getting a little too up-close and personal with his recent Focus co-star Margot Robbie. The pictures were taken in a photo booth, and it’s worth nothing that the blond, all-American Robbie is only 23 years old.

In one image, she’s showcasing her bra while Will is shirtless and pressing his chest against her back. Other photos show Will with his arms wrapped around her — likely not indicative of a friends-only snapshot.

A reputation down the drain

Although Will and Jada have had their ups and downs in the media, such as the snafu when Jada’s words were taken out of context to suggest that she supported open marriage, for the most part Will’s reputation has been fairly spotless.

He’s known for being silly and a little wild, but onlookers at the New Orleans party where the photos were taken have been saying that it’s obvious he and Robbie are an item.

One anonymous source claimed: “They were hanging all over each other, laughing like they were a new couple in love.” So where was Jada when all of this was happening? She was at a speaking engagement in another state, but so far both sides of the power couple have denied any trouble within their marriage.

It was only a few months ago that Jada made comments about open marriage, on which she quickly backtracked. “Will and I are very relaxed with one another — but I’ve always told Will, you can do whatever you want as long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and be okay.”

Sage advice?

There’s no telling what Jada really meant by that comment, but after more than 15 years of marriage, maybe it’s not so surprising that things are getting rocky. They’ve known each other for well over 20 years and have two children together, ages 15 and 13 (one of them in his own romantic drama). For some, this is the perfect age for parents to start feeling out what they really want to be doing once the nest gets empty.

However, Jada did post what some consider a message on her Facebook page right before Star published the photos: “We should never have the expectation to not make mistakes, we should only have the expectation to learn from them.”

It seems it doesn’t matter if you’re a Hollywood A-lister, own Chicago proprietary trading firms, or you’re somewhere in the middle. When a marriage goes on the rocks, there are all kinds of cryptic things to read into, rumors swirling around, and (if you’re married to Will Smith) there’s no end to the young women who are lining up to be enjoyed.

Will the couple’s long marriage be able to survive this latest drama and, more importantly, do they even want to stay together at this stage? It’s anyone’s call, and whether or not the couple sticks together or go their separate ways, it’s probably safe to say that even an affair won’t be enough to topple the Smith empire.

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There’s No Such Thing As Perfect Timing When You’re Having a Baby

Posted By: on November 8, 2013
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Those who want to have a family sometimes wonder when’s the perfect time. Some couples plan out their lives by the year: engagement by this age, wedding at this age, honeymoon, married for a year, buy a house, and then have baby. Others let what happens happen when it’s time.

While it’s one thing to plan what you have control over, such as your wedding date and honeymoon destination, there are some things you simply cannot plan for. Sometimes, one of those things is the arrival of your new bundle of joy.

You might be one of the couples who becomes pregnant right away. You might become pregnant before you were ready, or you might try for years with no luck. There’s no way to know until it actually happens … or doesn’t. What is certain, however, is that there’s no perfect time for a baby.

Is the timing right?

If you want to wait until you sell your current house and purchase a new one because that’d be the perfect time to start a family, you might not like the reality. Say your house sits on the market for months, or even years; you’re not having a baby because the timing is not perfect.

Perhaps your house sells after a few months and your husband is relocated by his company to a new city. It’s no longer the perfect time because your family isn’t together. Maybe he’s in the military and he’s deployed when you want to start a family; that’s certainly not perfect timing.

There’s simply no such thing as perfect timing when it comes to starting a family. What you can have, however, are a few lesser things you can set in order before you start trying for a baby.

Get your finances together

Babies are not inexpensive. Even if you have stellar insurance, you’re still going to pay a pretty penny not only for the birth and prenatal care, but also for your child to live. You have to consider whether or not you’ll go back to work, live on one income so you can stay home, pay for day care so you can work, and the cost of diapers, formula, and baby food.

If your finances aren’t in order, you’re better off waiting until they are before you have a baby.

Get your relationship in order

Having a baby, contrary to what some couples believe, is not going to fix your relationship. With the stress of not feeling well, experiencing parenting for the first time, living in a sleep-deprived funk for months, and dealing with the ins and outs of everyday parenting, having a baby can put even more strain on your relationship.

If your marriage is experiencing issues to begin with, perhaps it’s not the best time to start a family.

Insurance is a must

You should have health and maternity insurance if you’re having a baby. Without it, you’ll risk financial ruin. For example, with a good health insurance plan that has a low deductible and an 80/20 split, the typical family with an uncomplicated, normal birth will still pay anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000 out of pocket after insurance pays its portion.

Age matters

The only time you might need to consider rushing into parenthood is if you are of a certain age. According to the medical professionals who specialize in pregnancy, your chances of a healthy pregnancy and easy conception drop dramatically after you turn 35. Those odds decrease steadily after that.

Fertility issues

Unfortunately, not all men and women are able to conceive naturally and/or carry a child on their own. Some women need help with this, which is why a surrogate mother is an option. If you find yourself in this situation, making sure all of the above items are taken care of is of even greater importance.

CSP, the Center for Surrogate Parenting, specializes in matching couples with surrogates they can trust to carry their baby to term. If this is something you’re considering, discuss your options by making an appointment to talk to a fertility specialist.

The timing for something like having a baby is never right. There’s always a new job, big wedding or responsibility, vacation, house issue, graduation, or health concern that can make you wonder if now is the right time. There’s no such thing as perfect timing.

Read On

7 Tips on How to Treat a Snoring Problem and Prevent a Divorce

Posted By: on September 10, 2013
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Snoring is a source of marital conflict in many sitcoms and cartoons, but the reality of snoring can be very serious. Not only can it disturb a marriage, it can also be the symptom of something more dangerous.

When one partner snores like a freight train and the other can’t get any sleep, an obvious solution is also extremely unpalatable: sleeping in separate rooms. This can too easily kill intimacy.

There’s no need to live with the problem or fight to ignore it. There are many potential solutions to snoring problems; all it takes is finding the right one. Lack of good sleep is linked to a number of health concerns, which is why nipping snoring in the bud is crucial.

Here are seven possible solutions you can try.

1. Switch up your sleeping position

If you have a partner who snores, you’ve probably figured out that certain sleep positions can improve or worsen the problem.

Most people have a preferred sleeping position, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best position for them. A body pillow, different head pillow, and simple practice might be enough to stop or at least soften the snoring. Most habits can be changed, including how you sleep.

2. Ditch excess weight

Sometimes, carrying excess weight is the sole cause for snoring. If you’re overweight, dropping those excess pounds might stop the snoring as well as lead to a host of other health benefits.

Eating healthy is something that needs to be practiced, and it’s an activity spouses can do together. However, thin and fit people can snore, too, so this isn’t an automatic solution.

3. Pass on the cocktails

Imbibing before bed is linked to snoring, which is another good reason to say no to alcohol. While some studies show that red wine has health benefits, in general the downside of alcohol isn’t worth the costs.

It’s dangerous for those with an addictive personality, can heighten snoring, provides empty calories, and can leave you with a nasty hangover the next day.

4. Understand and practice sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene encompasses many things, including sleeping in a place that’s peaceful, dark, and free of noise as well as getting enough hours in the sack. If you have trouble sleeping, a sleep mask or spritz of lavender on the sheets can be a great help.

Lack of sufficient sleep can lead to snoring, which is a vicious cycle. Make sure the bedroom is free of distractions and conducive to rest.

5. Get enough H2O

Dehydration can lead to poor sleep and snoring, and most people don’t get enough water throughout the day. In fact, people often mistake thirst cues for hunger cues.

Drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day (if not more) can help you feel fuller longer, has many health benefits, and can help with sleep. This is one of the simplest ways to tackle a number of problems.

6. Open nasal passages

When your nasal passages are blocked, you are less able to breathe easily, which of course leads to snoring. There are many avenues for opening those passages, such as sitting in a steamy room right before bed time.

Try a natural approach to opening your sinus cavities first. An added perk is that a hot shower before bed tends to make people more sleepy and can be part of good sleep hygiene.

7. Choose the right medications

If these six natural solutions don’t work, maybe it’s time to pull out some bigger guns. Anti-snoring aids can be a lifesaver as well as a marriage saver. Shop at a reputable site that promises top-name brands, fast delivery, and great customer service. A good night’s sleep might be just a click away.

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Could Online Dating Be Lowering the Divorce Rate?

Posted By: on July 11, 2013
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A new study funded by online dating site eHarmony delivered some interesting results. It appears that a spike in online dating over the last decade may be slowly but surely lowering the divorce rate in the United States.

The familiar, longtime statistic on divorces, from studies and census reports, stated that nearly 50% of U.S. marriages end in divorce. It’s no wonder that online dating sites became popular for a variety of ages and types. These days there is an online dating site for nearly every age group: eHarmony being a more general site, Our Time directed toward late-to-middle-aged users, and OkCupid offering free services primarily for college students and young adults.

Online dating continues to rise

Online sites are making an undeniable impact. The study commissioned by eHarmony found that of the nearly 20,000 respondents, about 35% had found their partner online, and those who had reported a slightly lower divorce rate than their offline counterparts — only 6% among online daters versus an 8% rate of separation and divorce for offline couples.

The respondents were all folks who had married between 2005 and 2012, so collectively they represented 21st century marriages, and thus the best population for studying the effects of online dating. According to the study findings: “Meeting a spouse on-line is, on average, associated with slightly higher marital satisfaction and lower rates of marital break-up than meeting a spouse through traditional (off-line) venues.”

While divorce rates remain high, the systems in place for online dating no longer center on physical appearance, work relationships, or other superficialities, but are based more on compatibility as determined by eHarmony and the other sites’ personality profiling systems.

It makes sense, then, that many online couples may be better suited to each other, and don’t encounter some of the same conflicts that other, offline, couples do.

Easing the divorce trauma

Divorce is still a large problem worldwide, however. Stresses on relationships are sometimes too much, particularly for young couples, so modern western countries often report divorce rates that might startle the average citizen. The good news is that there are a number of professionals who specialize in family and divorce law; they can make the process as smooth and drama-free as possible.

Though divorce is always difficult, especially when children are involved, there are people who can help — from support groups and counselors to attorneys — and when the dust settles, there are sites like eHarmony to help you get back in the dating game.

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Gay Adoption Bill to Be Introduced at the Capitol

Posted By: on May 6, 2013
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The fight for gay legal and civil rights has come a long way in the United States. In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Brown that sexual activity between consenting same-sex adults of legal age was not illegal. Now, ten years later, a bipartisan bill is making its way through Congress that would legalize foster parenting and adoption by same-sex couples.

Every Child Deserves A Family

If successfully reintroduced, the Every Child Deserves A Family act would be a landmark step for gay couples who want to raise children. The act punishes adoption and foster programs that receive federal funds, and do not extend their services to gay & lesbian, transgendered and unmarried couples.

Shifting Support

The bill comes at a time when a growing number in the Republican Party have indicated their outright support (or, alternately, unwillingness to challenge) the notion of gay rights and gay parenthood. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio is the biggest voice from the right to stand behind the issue, but more surprising was the general lack of criticism and condemnation from his Republican colleagues – many of whom possibly note the changing tides of opinions regarding gay rights in America (53% of Americans support gay marriage), and the historical lack of solidarity with the gay rights cause costing the party badly in the 2012 United States Presidential Elections.

The Bipartisan Bill

That the Every Child Deserves A Family bill is being co-sponsored by a Democrat (John Lewis of Georgia) and a Republican (Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida) speaks of the rising trend in American culture to accept more facets of homosexuality: the decriminalization of same-sex activity, followed by the drive to legalize gay marriage, and concurrent with that, the push to allow LGBQT couples to adopt children.

Professional Support

Earlier this year, both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics found that having same-sex parents did not put children at a developmental disadvantage compared to children who were raised in heterosexual households. It was enough for Paul Ryan, the former Vice Presidential candidate, to publicly express his regret for his 1999 vote to ban same-sex adoption in Washington, DC.

Traditional Opposition

Not all groups are happy about the bill. Catholic adoption and foster agencies worry that they might be penalized for refusing to extend their services same-sex or unmarried couples due to religious reasons. In the past, such agencies had to close (if they were unwilling to help couples outside their sanctioned focus), or break their affiliation with their larger Church bodies (if they wanted to comply with government regulations and/or continue to offer adoption and foster services to couples who did not fit the official position of the Catholic Church).

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How to Keep an Overbearing Job From Ruining Your Relationship

Posted By: on April 14, 2013
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Achieving a healthy work-life balance is an accomplishment that eludes millions of workers in the world. There are always projects to work on, deadlines to meet, and demanding bosses to satisfy. Bringing home a paycheck and ensuring job security has led to many a date night ruined, many a vacation canceled, and many a relationship terminated. It may seem like you can’t have your cake and eat it, too, but that’s a myth. Here are six ways to keep an overbearing job from ruining your relationship.

1. Stick To Your Holiday Plans

Companies are legally required to give their employees vacation time, so when you schedule a getaway for you and your partner, see it through. Even if there’s a company shake-up, even if a new contract is signed, even if a new client signs on, you made plans with your sweetheart first, and that takes precedence over anything that happens in the office. No matter what your boss, your coworkers or your juniors might say to you, you can honestly tell them that your vacation has been scheduled months in advance, and you’re not going to disappoint your partner now.

2. Leave Work At Work

Given how pervading smartphones are, it’s tougher to fully clock out when you leave the office at 5pm, but that’s why it’s all the most important to really switch that part of your mind off. Constantly thinking about work would be unhealthy even if you lived on your own, so the effect is doubled when you have a significant other to take into consideration. Either go cold turkey from work when you come home – no emails, no calls – or agree with your partner on limited times where you can communicate with the office. Ten minutes every hour, for example, nothing more.

3. Invest In Your Relationship

Even if you follow the above advice to the letter, you won’t get very far in saving your relationship from your job if you don’t do anything in your relationship. Whether it’s date night, or you and your partner order pizza and watch something on Netflix, make sure to give that person your undivided attention when you’re not in the office. Don’t go off and do your own thing (unless the two of you have agreed-upon times to spend on your own). The idea is that by investing in your relationship, all the stresses of your job will be checked at the door. A strong relationship won’t be ruined by an overbearing job.

4. Spread The Work

It’s one thing to turn off your smartphone when you come home in the evening, but it’ll be another thing to turn it on the next morning and find hundreds of angry e-mails from your boss and co-workers. Don’t run out of the office at 5 p.m. Let the people you work with know that you’re leaving. Write down a list of things for a junior or a co-worker to do if they have to pick up where you left off. Ensure that the office still turns without you. Doing so will let you enjoy your time with your significant other without constantly wondering what fresh hell awaits you when you check back in the following morning.

5. Talk To People

With all the emailing and texting we do these days, communicating is a lost art. If you’re concerned that your job is encroaching on your personal life, tell people who need to know. Talk to your boss about possibly re-delegating some of your duties. Talk to your partner about your fears – that’s why they’re there. If things get rough, seek advice from a pastor or mental health professional who works specifically with relationships. Don’t assume you’ll be able to handle everything on your own. Your job is important, and so is your relationship, and letting the right people know what’s going will help you balance both.

6. When The Going Gets Tough…

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, the cards are stacked against you. You may find yourself in a position where you have to choose between putting in extra hours at work (and bringing home a paycheck) and spending that time with your significant other. If worst comes to worst and the situation boils down to that choice, then your relationship should always come first. No job, no matter how important and well-paying, should take that kind of toll on a person. If, despite every attempt you’ve made, your job is ruining your relationship, then leave the job before it ruins you.

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5 Valuable Pieces of Advice for Married Couples

Posted By: on March 11, 2013
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It’s been said–over and over again–that marriage isn’t easy, it takes work. Married couples who bicker, nitpick, and fight are portrayed in popular culture as funny, endearing, and common. Of course, it’s important to embrace levity in any relationship, but these satirical representations of married life can do as much damage to real relationship expectations as the assumption that a marriage contract obligates two people to a life of mutual labor and effort, not comfort and satisfaction.

In reality, relationships are as varied as the people in them, some have strife and some are easy. All marriages should be entered into with open eyes and honesty. Does loving and living with this person make hard-times easier or more difficult?

Here are five pieces of advice that every married couple should hear:

1. Go to bed angry

That’s right. The old maxim which insists no argument should last longer than a single day is silly, arbitrary, and can actually make matters worse. If the angry spouse doesn’t want to talk, reminding them that because of some old, hand-me-down mystery advice, they can’t go to sleep until the argument is resolved is a great way to infuriate them all over again.

Instead of trying to adhere to some arbitrary rules, let mutual love and respect guide any argument. If one person isn’t ready to talk, it’s okay. Don’t talk. Forcing a reconciliation can create feelings of frustration and resentment in couples where there wouldn’t otherwise be any.

2. Don’t keep Secrets

Everyone has secrets. Most are harmless and irrelevant, and there’s no need to have a sit down tell-all session with a spouse just to ensure that not a single secret exists in the relationship. However, keeping significant secrets about the past or present, or withholding information about desires, hopes, and dreams out of shame or shyness–that’s dangerous for a relationship.

The more open each partner is with the other, the more cohesive the bond becomes. Often sharing even embarrassing truths about oneself will result in more devotion and loyalty from a spouse. As humans want to be trusted and entrusted with even the ugly truths, it proves our unique position as a special person for another. So, be honest, it will help keep the relationship healthy.

3. Give everyone a job

Division of labor is a necessary evil. While no new husband or wife really wants to take a moment from the romance to assign dish duty or bathroom duty, the sooner these roles are established, the happier everyone will be.

Many folks feel like housework will be done mutually, and will naturally divide itself between two people with little effort. That can be partially true, it will soon become clear that he hates to do the laundry or she hates to vacuum because these tasks won’t be accomplished as regularly. Still, if it isn’t established right away that she hates to vacuum, he will always end up doing it and as a result he may begin to feel like he’s pulling an undue amount of weight. Assign tasks early on, and everyone will feel they’re doing their fair share.

4. Play to your strengths

This is part of the beauty of marriage, being two people instead of one, a couple is capable of much more together than they ever were alone. Never forget this, not for a second, and always use it to provide advantage. For example: He is persuasive and has a nice phone voice, so he always makes business calls on behalf of the family. She is an excellent parallel parker and has an impeccable driving record, so she takes the wheel when they leave the house.

Remember to use the ways in which each member of the relationship compliments the other, to take advantage of strengths and protect weaknesses, and this will enhance the relationship for everyone.

5. Wait on the dog–and the kid

Dogs and children, white picket fences, chinaware, the list of things that make a family complete goes on and on. Many couples get a dog before marriage as a litmus test for having children, and once they’re married they have children within a year. While this practice can work out fine, newly married or soon to be married couples should keep this idea in mind: the dog and child will always be with you, so make sure before you have them that you will always want to be with each other. A few years of learning to be married can ensure that the transition into a family with a baby will be smooth and happy.

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