Guest post by B. Anne Hancock, PsyD
There’s nothing wrong with a married couple having an argument. In fact, some level of conflict
is a good sign because it means the couple is communicating, rather than hiding emotions and
avoiding intimacy. That said, there’s a big difference between the occasional disagreement and
nonstop squabbling. Do you feel like you’re always having the same fight? Has there been a
breach of trust that’s now bubbling up in little disagreements all the time? Perhaps life has been
overwhelming lately, and you’ve lost sense of what matters most. Whatever the case, if you’re in
a relationship where the fights never stop, you may need practical help to set a new course.
Keep reading for advice on how to get to the cause of constant bickering and resolve it before it takes
over your marriage.
What's behind all those conflicts?
Have you ever wondered why some couples communicate in a healthy way about disagreements
and others get bogged down in constant fights? One important key is what they’re arguing about.
For example, are you frustrated about who did the dishes last, or are you wondering if your
partner truly cares about you? When you’re sparring about where to spend the holidays this year,
is it about the travel plans or feeling controlled by your spouse? Couples who solve conflicts in a
healthy way have learned how to look past surface issues to what’s happening underneath them.
This allows them to cut to the main problem and expedites their ability to resolve it.
Working through an argument
Even if you understand the root issues of a fight, you still need to work through them properly.
Healthy couples know not to have a serious heart-to-heart in the car before walking into the in-
laws’ house on Thanksgiving. They also steer clear of poor discussion habits, such as shouting,
attacking or refusing to look at the situation from another point of view. Rather, they choose
times when they’ll be able to focus and communicate clearly. They look for areas of
compromise. They focus on the reasons they want to be together and work towards resolution.
5 strategies for preventing bickering before it starts
If fighting is the norm for you and your spouse, you may want to think about conflict prevention.
Happy couples know what does and doesn’t work, and they adjust accordingly. With that in
mind, consider the following strategies to prevent bickering before it starts:
In marriage, one of the most important lessons to learn is when and when not to fight. If you’ve
been going through a period of major conflict, stop and think about what’s really going on. How
can you and your spouse move toward, instead of away from, each other? Use the tips above to
chart a new course for your relationship — and gain a more peaceful, happier life.
About the author
B. Anne Hancock, PsyD is a prominent marriage therapist and founder of Wellness Counseling Center. A licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Hancock specializes in working with couples and families. She has a doctorate in Psychology and a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Hancock always works from a wellness-oriented, non-pathologizing point of view — which means no blame, no shame. In addition to couples counseling services, Hancock also conducts personalized two-and-a-half-day couples intensives.
When I was little, there was nothing quite as exciting as hearing “Let’s go for a walk” after dinner.
Looking back, I’m sure my mom wanted to tire us out before bed, and I definitely use that trick, but a pre-bed walk is so good for your kids ... and you too!
After an emotionally-rough winter, we spent the spring and summer increasing our time spent together as a family and much of the that is time spent outside. We've gotten to the point where when I say "walk", my one-year-old daughter runs to get Barry (our Maltipoo) hooked up to his leash. So it's safe to say that we all love this habit.
Curious how an after-dinner walk can benefit you?
Benefits of an after-dinner walk
Even if your little ones played outside during the day, there are still benefits to going on one more stroll after dinner.
Benefits of a late walk include:
Gear that makes your walk even better
So to be clear, you don't really need anything besides some good shoes for walking, but I've found these things make an after-dinner walk even better.
Once of the best parts about an after-dinner walk is that everyone in your family can participate. While your older kids can walk (or run), your toddler or baby may just sit back and relax in the stroller.
Even if your baby isn't walking, he still benefits from the fresh air, the company, and the sights/sounds of nature.
My one-year-old loves riding in the stroller; in fact, whenever we are in the garage, she points to her stroller as if to ask "Is it time yet for our walk?!"
If you're in the market for a new stroller, check out the BOB Revolution Flex 2.0 Jogging Stroller.
If you're still working on losing baby weight (ahem... me), grab yourself a smart watch and log your calories from your walk. I love my Apple watch, and you better believe, I open the "outdoor walk" each night to keep track of my progress.
Our dog accompanies us on every walk, and because after-dinner walks can get dark (especially in the fall), it's a good idea to keep your dog safe with a reflective leash or harness.
What about you?
Do you go for walks as a family?
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When someone asks me, "What is the one baby product you can't live without?", I don't hesitate: it's my Ergo.
10 Reasons You Need a Baby Carrier
This is just a small dent in the reasons why I'm 100% obsessed with babywearing!
New to babywearing?
If you're new to babywearing, it can be overwhelming trying to find a new carrier. Although I own several (and love them all), the Ergo is perhaps the easiest for beginners. This one safely allows your baby to face-forward without risking injury to the hips, and it's comfortable and adjustable, which means it can easily go from mom to dad with a few simple adjustments.
Feeling adventurous? Try a woven wrap!
Interested in a woven wrap? Check out this video to see what the Baby Wearin' Dads have to say!
While woven wraps do have a slight learning curve, they do offer a few more advantages over the structured carrier like the Ergo. I like that woven wraps offer a LOT of different options for wrapping your baby. The woven wrap can also feel more snug, and I feel that my youngest takes the longest naps when she's in this wrap.
Don't let the price scare you; these wraps are made to support your baby without sagging or fraying. Once I committed to the woven wrap, I received that it was worth every penny... once your baby starts snoozin', you'll see that they are indeed priceless.
Which color grabs your eye?
Do you babywear?
What's your favorite carrier?
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you. We only suggest products we love and use.
Guest Post by Leslie Campos
Becoming new parents is stressful, and the demands of a baby can be overwhelming at times.
According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, after the birth of a child, the negative aspects of the parents’ relationship can cause it to deteriorate very quickly. With all the focus on the little one, parents frequently don’t communicate very well, oftentimes argue more, and don’t have time for romance. Although many parents hesitate to leave their babies or young children behind, traveling together can be a wonderful way to recharge your relationship and reconnect as a couple.
Prepare the Little One
Although throwing yourself full force into parenthood is a necessity with a newborn, after several months, it is time to consider getting away with your partner and focusing on yourselves. Begin by preparing well in advance. You want your baby to be completely comfortable and familiar with your sitter. A grandparent would be a great option, if at all possible. A week or so before departing on your getaway, leave the baby with a sitter for several hours — maybe even a full day — to help them get used to each other. Be sure to do some preparations yourself as well, especially if you’re a breastfeeding mother. You’ll need to pump to have milk on hand for the baby while you’re away. Don’t forget to bring along a pump that’s travel-friendly, a pumping bag filled with the essentials (storage bags, nursing pads, etc.), a spare pump, and a portable cooler to store milk while on the road or in the air.
Need a pump? Check out these supplies to make pumping-on-the-go even easier:
Leave Plenty of Instructions
Put together a notebook with all the information that you want the sitter to know — everything from emergency numbers to your baby's favorite soothing techniques. Odds are, the sitter will never have to even open your folder, but it will help put your mind at ease when you are away.
Stay Close to Home
You don't need to jet across the country to reconnect with your spouse. Staying within your state or even your own city will provide you with some “couple time” and allow you the ability to return home quickly if necessary. A staycation can also give you the opportunity to see your own area as a tourist and discover fun destinations and activities you haven’t experienced before.
Make It Short But Sweet
Communication is key to helping your relationship thrive. Even a couple of nights away will allow you an opportunity to have time to talk to each other and help you rekindle your romance. An overnight trip is a good start. However, you should try to make it a long weekend, or if you want to steer clear of the crowds, plan your vacation for a few days during the week.
Don't Spend a Bundle
The financial stress of a new baby is enough — don't add to it by busting your budget on your trip. Stay at a modest hotel, and do simple date night type activities. Going out just the two of you, like you are on a date, can give you time to talk and listen to each other. As Kindred Bravely explains, simple activities are often the best; walk at the park, go bowling, or take in a local sporting event.
Spending time outdoors together also is very healthy for your relationship. Hiking, biking, and canoeing are inexpensive ideas and fun ways to connect with your partner and with nature. According to Psychology Today, research indicates that couples who participate in joint physical activities feel more satisfied in their relationships.
A quick trip can return you refreshed, invigorated, and ready to tackle everything life throws at you together as a couple. Taking time away, even just for a night or two, can help the two of to nurture your relationship with one another. The happier you are as a couple, the better parents you can be — and the more love your baby will feel.
How do you connect with your spouse?
Share below some of your favorite ways to reconnect with your spouse!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.
Why Self-Care Matters
First and foremost... self-care is the oxygen mask of life.
If you've been on an airplane with a small child, you know the drill. The flight attendant reminds you to put on your oxygen mask before helping small children. At first, it seems cruel. Why would you not help your child first? But then you think about it: if you aren't oxygenated enough to help you child, then nobody gets help.
The same concept here: you have to fill up your cup before helping your family. It's not selfish. It's self-care, it's life-giving, and oh-so-vital for a truly happy life.
Self-care entails everything from taking care of your body (scheduling your annual well checkups), taking care of your mind (taking an hour at the end of the day for "me time"), and taking care of your spiritual needs as well. Self-care is about taking the time to re-charge your body, mind, and soul.
Remember: You cannot pour from an empty cup.
Need a few ideas? Read this post.
Learn more about self-care here.
Meditation and Mindset: How Does It Make You Happier?
You probably have heard that meditation helps make you feel calm and reduce stress, but it can also help you become happier too.
When you quiet the outside world, you're able to zero in on your thoughts and feelings. You're able to relax, deep breath, and just be. Deep breathing alone can help lower cortisol levels in your body.
Sometimes the stress of life zaps our ability to just.... be. If you go and go and go and never stop to reflect, you're going to feel burnt out. But meditation can help find that peace, and it allows you practice mindfulness too!
Meditation also provides you with the quite reflection to address things that have been bothering you, and when you create game-plans to tackle those problems, you'll end up happier too.
Tip: Use this meditation if you're short on time.
Why Giving to Others Makes You Happy
One of my all-time favorite memories was Christmas as a child. Family came in from out of town, there was good food, everyone was happy. Christmas was downright magical as a kid, and the presents didn't hurt either! Getting presents always seems like kids happy. (FYI, receiving gifts IS one of the five love languages!)
But then something happens. You grow up and have your own babies, and you realize that GIVING those Christmas presents is a far more exciting experience.
It feels good to give. You feel happier when you make others happier.
But why? As it turns out, there is a little bit of science behind this too! A study from the Harvard Business School found that when individuals give, they activate the pleasure centers in your brain.
It literally feels good to make other people happy.
Why Nature Matters
The bigger question is why wouldn't nature matter when it comes to your happiness? YOU are part of nature! The earth is given to SUSTAIN you... don't you think it might sustain you mental health too? Because the truth is... it does!
You probably already know that the sun gives you vitamin D, but did you know that there is actual scientific research showing that vitamin D is linked to your mood?
Not only does the sun provide you with mood-boosting vitamin D, but nature also allows you to disconnect from the stresses of life.
To feel the breeze.
To actually think without pop-ups, ads, and social media.
Spending time in nature truly boosts your mood, your happiness levels, but it also reduces your stress levels.
Happiness: What Is It? What Isn't It?
Happiness doesn't mean that everything always goes your way.
Happiness doesn't mean that you're over-the-moon estatic 24/7.
Far from it.
Happiness means that you choose positivity. You choose to endure. You choose to look on the bright side. You choose to keep on keepin' on - even in the face of adversity.
Happiness is about the choices you make.
Happiness is about choosing joy in your heart.
The 7-Day Happiness Challenge
Because happiness is about the choices you make, there are things you can do to create a happier life, and the 7-day challenge can help you get there.
Each day, I'll post a new challenge both here and on social media so feel free to follow along!
I won't be leaving you alone either; I'll be doing the challenge with you, showing you science-backed reasons how these small acts contribute to happiness.
Want to stay in touch? Grab out newsletter here.
Let us know if you'll be joining us! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Ah, Valentine's Day! The one day that couples look forward to so they can exchange lovey-dovey cards with one another as well as boxes of chocolates. And, this is the one day that singles do not like at all for obvious reasons. However, who says you have to be in a relationship to enjoy this special holiday? Because Valentine's Day can be quite fun for kids too! And this can also be quite fun for the family! That is right! You can celebrate Valentine's Day with your family because you and your kids will have so much fun.
Here are 5 fun Valentine's Day ideas that you will absolutely love:
1. Create Love Lists - This activity is an amazing one because kids can learn about the importance of gratitude. What you can do is have your kids write lists of the people who they love, as well as anything in general. For instance, if your child says he or she loves his or her cozy bed, then that should be added to the love list. Again, this way, kids can also learn about counting their blessings when they add the things that they love to the list. Because what can be done is after Valentine's Day is over, have them put the list away and then when it is Thanksgiving, tell them to take it out and then they can look it over and realize that they have so much to be grateful for!
2. Make Heart Cookies And Desserts - Of course, baking for Valentine's Day is going to make it on this list because that is one activity that families love to do. All you need to do is go to a dollar store to get heart-shaped cookie cutters and go to the grocery store to pick up some pink frosting, and red, white, and pink sprinkles, and other relevant candies! Then start having fun in the kitchen. You will love these Valentine's Day cookie and dessert recipes as well! Have fun with this.
3. Enjoy Movie Night With Popcorn That Is Pink - Pink is associated with Valentine's Day, so why not get some pink popcorn and enjoy watching a Disney movie with the kids while munching! You can add a few pieces of fair trade chocolate as well but keep that to a minimum. Otherwise, the kids will not go to bed that night due to being sugared up!
4. Get Creative And Play Some Valentine's Games - Kids love games, and it is always fun to play enjoyable ones with the whole family. Here are some game ideas that you can use for your family such as Valentine's Day bingo, the heart bean bag toss, and Valentine's Minute To Win from Makoodle.
5. Valentine's Day Themed Arts And Crafts - Right next to baking fun desserts, kids love arts and crafts and you can have fun with it as well! That means you and your kids can create Valentine's Day cards by using pink construction paper, glitter, and confetti, get plenty of red and pink markers, and heart-shaped beads. Some craft ideas you can find online as well such as having the opportunity to make your own heart crayons which are offered by MollyMoo Crafts. If your kids are going to preschool, then they will love the Toilet Roll Heart Stamps that are offered by Craftulate.
With these fun 5 Valentine's Day family ideas, there is no shortage on amazing activities that will be enjoyable for the whole family.
So, what plans do you have for Valentine's Day with your family?
Wife & Mama with a passion for peaceful parenting, natural living, homeschooling... and my daily café au lait.