Monthly Archives: June 2015

Jun 28

How to Help a Spouse with a Gambling Problem

By Dustin | Help

How to Help a Spouse with a GamblingIs your spouse currently dealing with a gambling problem, and you can’t figure out why they’re behaving the way they are?

There are lots of people that can go out to a casino and enjoy the fun in gambling whether they win or lose.

However, there are other individuals who over the course of time develop an addiction to gambling that can ultimately tear apart their lives.

From the outside looking in, it seems as if a person should be able to control their actions – especially when the consequences are severe.

Be that as it may, compulsive gambling and/or addiction are progressive and complicated illnesses that eventually grow beyond their control.

Understanding What Compulsive Gambling is

Winning is something that we all hope to do when we gamble (or compete on some level). When we actually do win, there’s an instant feeling of thrill and accomplishment.

These overwhelming feelings are triggered by chemicals released into the “feel good” section of the brain. Naturally, the brain wants to feel this feeling again and thus begins to actions of repetitive gambling.

What was once a monthly trip to the casino then becomes gambling online and/or betting on sports. The more you win, the more you want to gamble. The more you lose the more you want to win again. Eventually, it is out of your control and the brain simply feels it “needs” to win in order to feel good again.

Some might assume that if they can be satisfied with gambling on occasion, so should those who suffer from compulsive gambling or an addiction. However, it is important to point out that everyone is different and thus can be affected by gambling in a different way.

While one person could develop an addiction after gambling for the first time, others may not develop an addiction for several years. There are varying factors that determine when a person may or may not develop an addiction.

Signs Of a Gambling Problem

After fully understanding the meaning of a compulsive gambler or a gambling addict, the next step in helping your loved one with their issue is to educate yourself on the warning signs.

Below are a few of these signs to consider:

  • Has your spouse started gambling more than usual?
  • Are they spending money that you don’t have to spend on gambling?
  • Do they gamble despite your concern?
  • Does gambling keep them from completing daily responsibilities at home and/or at work?
  • Have they begun to lie about their gambling activities in an effort to keep you off their back?
  • Have they begun stealing and/or committing fraud as a means to get money to gamble?
  • Do they ask others for small loans and use it to gamble (or to cover gambling debts)?

If you’ve recognized any of these signs in your spouse, you will need to address the matter so that you can get them assistance with their illness.

Approaching Your Loved One

Dealing with the realization that your spouse may have a gambling problem can be a hard pill to swallow.

Prior to approaching them on the subject matter, it may be ideal that you first take a few deep breaths and equip yourself with resourceful information on gambling addictions. When you do approach your spouse, it will be important that you approach him with love and concern and not from a place of pain or anger.

When you’re dealing with something as serious as addiction, you must handle it delicately to ensure that what you have to say does not seem like an ambush. Below are a few tips on talking with a loved one:

· Sort through your feelings first – the moment you realize there is a gambling problem, you don’t want to address the issue right then.

Take the time to ensure that you’re fully educated on addiction and how to best help your loved one prior to having a discussion.

· Be an effective communicator – when you’re dealing with something as serious as addiction it is important that you do as much listening as you do talking.

If your loved one is made to feel like all you’re doing is pointing fingers, they may be reluctant to confide in you, or even worse, refuse to get help.

· Share what you’ve learned – After having addressed your concerns with your loved one, and having listened to their feelings on the matter, sharing what you’ve learned about gambling addiction is a great way to show them you care.

You can discuss what addiction is, what the warning signs are, and the various ways to get help.

Getting Help

There are several methods in which you can get help for your spouse and their gambling addiction. There is essentially talking with a therapist, going with a rehab facility for outpatient treatment options, or going for long term care inpatient treatment options.

While everyone has a different path to recovery, Prescotthouse.net, a rehab facility for men, discusses why long term treatment is ideal for optimal recovery. After deciding which route you’re going to take, reaching out to the best service provider right away is ideal.

The sooner your loved one can get help, the better off they’ll be.

Dealing with mental illness of any kind can be traumatic not only for the person suffering from the illness, but for the family as well.

If your spouse is currently struggling with a gambling problem, or any form of addiction, it is ideal that you first educate yourself, recognize the signs, and approach them in a loving and supportive way.

When they’re ready to change, knowing that they have you in their corner to get help will make their recovery that much more successful.

This post was contributed by writer, Christine Michaels.

Jun 24

Marriage 101: How to Keep the Passion Alive

By Dustin | Romance

Marriage 101When you were a kid (and maybe now again as a parent), you’ve probably watched a dozen Disney movies featuring wonderful princesses.

In these animated films, having your own happily ever after seems like an easy and simple thing to do.

The characters kiss, head off somewhere romantic, and all their problems will magically go away.

But now that you’re married, you finally realized that love is not as smooth-sailing and easy as it looks. As the years go by, you start feeling that the spark you once had is slowly diminishing.

The kissing, hand-holding, and other things that you were doing 12 years ago suddenly felt so foolish or boring.

All marriages have their rough patches. However, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to love someone for more than a decade.

Here are some effective ways to maintain a healthy relationship that will last for a long time…and keep the passion alive!

1. Have a toast

Have you met your fitness goals during the past few months? Did your husband managed to go beyond his quota at work?

For these special occasions, you can pop open a bottle of Tesco Cristal Champagne and toast to your success. What’s more, you can also have a romantic dinner by candlelight while sipping a glass of light liquor.

Celebrating even the simplest victories will give your relationship a positive vibe.

2. Praise goes a long way

Even the simple act of telling your wife that she is beautiful is a great way to create a healthy relationship. Look for the things that make your partner unique.

Build a habit of pointing out her positive side instead of criticizing her every day.  And wives, don’t forget that your husband would love to hear or read some affirmations, too!

3. Relive happy moments

Do you still remember your first date? Do you have some pictures of your first international trip as a couple?

Take a trip down memory lane and remember all those happy moments together! Remembering all those fun memories is a great way to change your mindset and attract a more positive vibe.

When you and your spouse are going through a rough patch, going over the highlights of your marriage will give your relationship a boost.

4. Show your support

There will come a time when your partner will need a shoulder to cry on. Everyone needs someone to talk to.

The trick here is to be supportive and show them that you’ve got their back. If your husband gets fired from  work, avoid the urge to say something like “You should have put more effort in your work.” If your wife is having an argument with a friend or relative, don’t try to “fix” things and offer solutions just yet.

Right now, your spouse just needs someone to listen. Be there and show your support and affection.

Got any more tips for keeping the love and passion strong in a long-term relationship? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Jun 22

No Time for Sex? How Much Time Does it Really Take Anyway?!

By Julie Sibert | Sex & Family Planning

My husband and I have had some fairly incredible lovemaking sessions.

I mean, off-the-charts “I think the neighbors can probably hear us by now” lovemaking.

no-time-for-sexAnd even those sexual episodes of “my-world-has-been rocked” have not lasted hours.

Nope.  It would probably be a stretch to say they lasted an hour.

My point?

If the “no time for sex” argument seems to be a constant in your home, you likely are missing out on incredible sex that can be had in less than 20 minutes.

I would even go so far as to say in some marriages, most of the sex that happens is quickie sex (or at least within close proximity of quickie sex).

And that’s not a bad thing.

Sure, long drawn-out lovemaking has its place and I savor those encounters tremendously.

But if my husband and I were banking on those types of encounters to sustain our sexual intimacy, we’d be taking a huge risk with the health of our marriage.

Are you always waiting for ideal conditions to make love to your spouse? Are you always waiting for more time?

If so, you might be missing out on a lot of great sex.

Ideal conditions are hard to come by in the lives of most married couples, what with the messy houses, chaotic calendars, demanding jobs, and whiny (uh, I mean adorable) children.

Ironically, that crazy “I can’t even see straight” life you’re living most days would likely become more enjoyable and bearable if you nurtured sexual intimacy in the midst of it – rather than wait for the chaos to subside.

Seem impossible?

It’s not.

But you have to be willing to walk in that direction.  Have a heart-to-heart chat with your spouse about what it would take to make love more often – rather than put it off until you “have more time.”

A huge bonus is that when you learn to arouse each other and connect sexually when time is in short supply, you’ll be laying a good foundation for those more drawn-out sexual encounters.

(Laying. A. Good. Foundation. See how I worked that in?)

When I hear people say they have no time for sex, I don’t usually believe them. My heart is in the right place, though.  What I really hear behind the “no time for sex” is “we haven’t figured out how to have great sex in 20 minutes.”

So how do you figure that out?

Well, I offer these three tips:

1. Remember that sex is one of the best things you can do for your marriage.

I know, this seems like I’m over-generalizing a bit, but it’s true. Nurtured sexual intimacy softens a husband and wife toward each other, better equips them to do life, and helps them be intimate in ways beyond the bedroom.

2. Rely on the sexual techniques that are a sure thing.

Obviously, I have no idea what turns your spouse on.  But I am guessing you do.

When you don’t have a lot of time, make a dash toward the sexual touches and repertoire that your spouse most enjoys.

3. Focus on the connection, not the orgasm.

Hey, I like an intense orgasm as much as the next person, but I also know that sex is not all about climaxing.  It’s also about being exclusively and emotionally connected with the person you love.

(I also think the intense physical pleasure is more likely to happen the more we practice, so to speak — the more we communicate well on what will help us climax. I have an entire page on my site with posts about orgasm.)

If you are not accustomed to spontaneous and/or quick sex in your marriage, remember that this is a learned behavior.  Give yourself and your spouse grace and encouragement to grow in this aspect.

You can become each other’s champion for healthy sexual intimacy in your relationship, where you both have the freedom and enthusiasm to initiate and engage sexually.

But whatever you do, don’t keep falling back on “there is not enough time” for sex.

There is enough time.

 

Jun 16

Protect Your Marriage by Protecting Your Finances

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

Protect Your Marriage by Protecting Your

The Bible tells us that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

But experience tells us that the lack of money is at the root of all kinds of marriage problems. A survey of Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA™) professionals revealed finances to be the third leading cause of divorce, trailing only behind basic incompatibility and infidelity.

Other lists put it at #4. It is always in the top ten.

When you examine the lists more closely, you can see it all over the top ten lists. It appears disguised as other things.

Consider basic incompatibility. Finances are one of the main areas where couples find themselves incompatible.

Lack of communication is another place where financial issues hide, as couples seldom communicate about financial issues until it comes to a boil.

When you really think about it, money is not just on most of the top ten lists, it is most of the top ten lists.

The challenge is keeping your marriage from becoming one of the data points for one of those lists. It is abundantly clear that if you do not deal with your financial issues before you get married, you will be working through them after you’re not.

Here are some ways to keep money from parting you asunder:

Make Financial Stability a Precondition of Marriage

Assuming you haven’t yet tied the knot, it is not too late to make financial stability the priority it needs to be.

In modern times in a free country, no one would willingly marry without love as a precondition. Sobriety may be another precondition. If it’s not, it should be. Stable finances should be in that conversation as well.

That is not to say that you should use credit scores as a basis of marriage. But those scores should be known to both parties, and a part of the conversation. A low credit score may indicate bad luck, or irresponsibility. Either way, it is a sign of financial instability.

Why not wait until those issues are resolved before getting married? You are going to need good credit. While those issues are being resolved, you will have time to determine if there is an underlying matter of financial irresponsibility.

Let that be a deal-breaker before, rather than after the marriage.

Insure Everything

Health insurance seems like an obvious place to start. You fell in love with someone you consider strong, beautiful, and talented. Both you and your spouse are smart and nicely employed.

What could possibly go wrong? How about a tumble down the stairs while carrying the groceries, or an auto accident, or a brain tumor? What could go wrong? Everything! Lost health means lost work, means lost income.

Slightly less obvious is insuring your stuff. Just starting out, you might decide to rent instead of own. You might also be under the delusion that you do not have much by way of possession. But seldom is the time when this is actually true.

If you have to file a renters insurance claim due to a break-in or fire, you will quickly discover how much you have (had) to lose. Without renters insurance, you will have to find the money to replace all your clothes, jewelry, electronics and such.

You may even have to pay the medical bills of anyone injured while in your rented space. If everything is not insured, then anything can be a financial time bomb set to go off in your marriage at any time.

Save Money

A savings account is a type of insurance. It is a hedge against the unforeseen.

When uninsured expenses happen (and they will), saved money can mean a saved marriage. It is debt that you do not have to incur, an argument that you do not need to have, and stress you do not have to experience.

Savings is the difference between you remaining financially stable, and going financially sideways.

Marriage is fragile. Some percentage of divorce is inevitable. But it is tragic to have your marriage survive infidelity, shifting priorities, and boredom, only to be torpedoed by finances.

That is one tragedy that can be avoided.

This post was contributed by guest writer Christine Michaels.

Jun 08

12 Romantic Surprises To Make Your Spouse Smile

By Debi Walter | Romance

All marriages get to a place of routine. It happens because life demands it.

But there is one word that will interrupt this routine and hopefully make your spouse smile.

What is this one word?

SURPRISE!

Think about it. When was the last time you were truly surprised by something your spouse did?

It most likely left a lasting imprint on your heart because it was unexpected making it even more special.

Even if the surprise was little – like your favorite treat – it still meant a lot.

To help you plan a sweet surprise of your own, we’ve come up with a list of Romantic Surprises to Make Your Spouse Smile. Try one or try them all.

The important thing is that you’re creating cherished memories your spouse will hold on to forever.

That makes it worth the effort!

  1. Please your spouse sexually in a way you know they’ll like, but won’t expect because you’ve never done it before.
  2. Arrange for a babysitter and plan a date night out without telling them until the babysitter shows up.
  3. Mail them an invitation to meet you somewhere later that day. When they get there have another envelope leading them on a hunt for you.
  4. Plan a day of all their favorites – food, drinks, activities, movies, friends, etc. Include as many in one day as you can.
  5. Give them a full body massage. Let them listen to romantic music with a headset to increase the relaxation.
  6. Mail them a steamy card at work, or send them one via text or e-mail. Add some lingerie to the card and really wow them.
  7. Play one of these games and don’t tell them the new rules until the game begins:  Clue, Scrabble, Putt-Putt
  8. Set up a tent in your bedroom or on your bed and have fun “camping indoors” together.
  9. Drive to your spouse’s work and put his/her favorite cold drink and snack in their car with a card telling them to drive safely.
  10. Complete a big task on your spouse’s to-do list and don’t tell them you did until they discover it themselves.
  11. Listen to your spouse’s cravings and then do whatever you can to get it for them. For instance, You hear them say, “I want something sweet”.  Get up and start baking them cookies without telling them what you’re doing.
  12. Celebrate an unknown holiday. Check out the list here. (Listed according to month). Today just happens to be “Best Friend’s Day”.

Can you think of more ways to make your spouse smile?

I’d love to hear them! I challenge us all to make the most of the summer by filling it with unexpected pleasures for our love.

Until next time…Keep the romantic fires burning!

(photo)

Jun 02

A 3-Minute Prayer for Busy Christians

By Dustin | Spirituality

3-Minute Prayer for Busy ChristiansHow faithful and consistent are you in your prayer life?

That can be a tough question to answer for many of us.

I know that I struggle to keep prayer in its rightful place as a daily and meaningful practice in my life.

When I do make the time to pray and have a wonderful conversation with God, it’s usually while I’m laying in bed at night at the end of a long day.

Inevitably, I end up going off on some crazy daydream tangent and/or falling asleep before my “chat” is complete.

The problem I seem to have with prayer is two-fold:

  • I don’t make it a high priority in my schedule
  • I sometimes just don’t know what to pray about – which really doesn’t make it very effective in my case

To me, prayer is one of those things that should just come naturally, but it doesn’t always happen that way.  I crave some structure (I am an engineer after all), yet I want to have a very personal and real conversation with our Lord.

That means that simply saying the Our Father, while it’s wonderful, isn’t enough – I need to connect through a prayerful conversation.

The 3-Minute Prayer Anyone Can Do

I’ve been struggling with this for a while, which is why I was so excited during Mass yesterday when our new priest started talking about having these same struggles in his early years of preaching.  It was clear he could relate to the busy members of our parish.

While he (rightfully) said that “If you’re too busy to pray, you’re too busy” – he also offered up a fantastic prayer that even the busiest among us can use as the center of their daily prayer life.

Here’s how it goes:

1. For the first minute, pray to God the Father and THANK HIM specifically for all the good things that you’ve experienced over the last 24 hours.

2. For the second minute, pray to God the Son (yeah, that’s Jesus) to ASK FORGIVENESS for all of your sins and wrongdoings over the last 24 hours.

3. For the last minute, pray to God the Holy Spirit to ASK FOR THE GRACE and strength you need for the particular issues you’re facing now and over the next day.

I used this approach last night (and stayed awake) and again this morning during a morning run.

To me, it’s a perfect way to focus on three different areas where I need God in my life, while also recognizing the mystery of the Holy Trinity that we believe as Catholics.  Of course, you could modify the structure slightly to suit your needs and beliefs.

I hope this simple approach to prayer helps you make your relationship with God a daily encounter and enhances your marriage in the process.

If you think this approach is helpful, I encourage you to share it with others by clicking the Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter buttons above or by sending it to a friend via email.

God Bless!

Jun 01

The Tale of a Red Envelope and a Job Offer

By Kim Hall | Finances & Careers

red envelope and a job offerHave you ever been so tired of or discouraged with what you do that you are ready not just to change jobs but switch to a completely different field?

A young woman I know was in that very difficult place.

She had been employed in the healthcare industry for over five years, working her way from a per-diem position to full-time, and she had recently been promoted from assistant manager to a management position.

She was very excited about her new responsibilities, but it wasn’t long before she realized the fit was not right.

After lengthy discussions with her fiancee about the pros and cons of the situation, they decided it was time to not only time for her to leave the job, but to leave healthcare altogether.

The opportunity cost of staying was too great, and it was time for a big change.

After taking stock of her skills and what she loves to do, and then researching businesses that might be a match, she decided to apply to a company that caters to creative consumers like herself.

They do not accept online applications, so Ellie filled out the lengthy questionnaire, tailoring her experience to the needs of the company, making sure her responses were complete, well-thought out, and neatly and legibly written.

When she was ready to hand in the paperwork, she wanted to make sure it would stand out.

She knew she’d be in a large pack of potential employees because the company pays considerably above average for the area for hourly part and full-time employees.

Plus, the company didn’t even have any positions posted at the time.

After brainstorming different ideas for making her application memorable, she decided to put her creativity to use.

She wanted to fashion a colorful envelope, something that would be eye-catching.

It would need something on the outside—decorations, or perhaps a name or message—for some extra pop.

She found the perfect inspiration on the company’s website career page where there was a statement in large, bold letters: We’re looking for you!

She proceeded to create her envelope from bright red felt and applied white letters to read the following: I heard you’re looking for me.

This light-hearted project would potentially set her apart and make her memorable in other ways as well:

Showcasing her creative nature

Sharing her sense of humor

Illustrating her awareness of the company’s desire for great employees

The most important role of the envelope, of course, was to get the right person curious about what was inside so she would be invited for an interview.

When Ellie brought her colorfully packaged application to the business, she asked to speak to a manager.

They spoke briefly, and he explained they weren’t currently hiring.

He was amused by the envelope, however, and commented positively on it.

With the delivery of her application complete, Ellie thanked the manager for his time and again expressed her interest in working for the company.

A couple of months later, Ellie received a call from that same manager asking her if she was still available.

She went for her interview, and the first thing she noticed on his desk was her red envelope.

The manager told her there had been a hiring freeze, but he had been intrigued enough by her approach to read and keep her information close by so he could call her when an opening came available.

The questions and conversation began, and Ellie was hired that day.

Her skills, personality, and experience were a match for what the business needed, and she did all she could to be sure her information was seen by the person who makes the hiring decisions.

Consequently, this tale of a red envelope and a job offer had a very happy ending.

The good news is that while the red envelope may not work in your situation, there are other similarly clever and related ways to get your application to the top of the pile and in front of the right person.

As Dan Miller notes in his best-seller 48 Days to the Work You Love:

The major difference between successful and unsuccessful job hunters is not skill, education, age, or ability, but the way they go about their job hunt. 

So, get thinking, get intentional, get creative, and get hired!

Comment: What have you done or can you do to stand out to stand out to a potential employer?