Posted in Love, Marriage & Family

That Loving Feeling – Believe in Your Marriage

joel carter photoThere was a time when you and your partner felt so in love, and thought so highly of each other, that you wanted to commit yourselves to spending the rest of your lives together.

Can you still remember those feelings? What impressed you about your partner? What drew you together? Memories like this can act like glue when you hit rougher seas and most marriages will experience some turbulent times.

What is it that makes some marriages more likely to thrive than others? I think I can safely say that it is an ongoing sense of admiration and wonder. Admiration and wonder over being together.

There’s an old song that goes, “You’ve lost that loving feeling.” The lyrics and the melody are heart wrenching, especially the part that says, “We had a love, a love you don’t find every day.” A beautiful thing is falling apart. It is a song of deep regret and longing.

The echo of love is ringing through the song. The singer doesn’t want to let go. This kind of love should never fail.

We often don’t see what we have until it is lost. I think of all the divorcees who later say, “If only….”

A break in a relationship can always be traced back to an incident, however small. A conflict or a disappointment. You thought your partner would behave one way, and they behaved another.

Something surprising happened. Something unexpected. Something that cast your partner in a new light, a less positive one.

And, as a result there was hurt. Maybe slight hurt. Or maybe a very deep injury. And, if it was not addressed and resolved, the hurt was carried for days, maybe years.

Chances are that the surprise happened again. And again. Along with other disappointing surprises. They accumulated.

Maybe you didn’t handle the dissappointment so well. People who are hurt often don’t. Perhaps the inciting incident resulted in a vicious circle of blame and recrimination. As a result the pain was multiplied exponentially.

Or. you went off alone, without saying anything, to lick your wounds. You withdrew, as a form of protection, and it became a pattern.

Injury in a marriage is very real and very deep. The one you loved and trusted hurt you. The one you thought would have your back, turned on you. The one you entrusted your life to, suddenly seemed uncaring and insensitive. This is extremely difficult to reconcile because the emotions around the incident are so intense, especially when one person decides that the other person was, or is, uncaring.

This kind of experience can plunge a person into a lonely pit of despair. Often couples don’t know how to climb out of this place and, tragically, in time they give up on the relationship.

You want to catch your relationship before it falls to this low point because your marriage is worth saving

I think the biggest cry in a relationship is, “You don’t get it.” In other words, I wasn’t trying to hurt you. You don’t understand what I need from you. You are getting it wrong.

If we go back and very slowly and carefully unravel our early discord, we will probably find, to our surprise, that the intentions of the other person who hurt us were not as mean as we thought. There may have been some carelessness involved, some inattentiveness, some misunderstanding. But, chances are that there was no malicious intent because malice is something that builds over time, after repeated injury.

He did it again. Or she did it again. Repetition reinforces the thought that the other person does not care.

This is where we begin to lose our wonder and admiration.

Old hurts from other relationships might surface and blur the image of the person you once wanted to marry (a bully, for example, or a harsh parent). Or they lose their glow in light of other idealized images (when compared with a past flame or an attentive parent).

We all want to keep “that loving feeling.” Just, how do we do it?

We have to find a way. We have to believe there is a way.

We need to be creative, and go back, again, and again, and work at resolving issues, trying different approaches.

We have to pray, and dialogue (talk about it). Analyze (pull it apart and look at it and figure it out). We have to target issues. We have to assimilate (add new information and fit it all together) and reframe (put the pieces together differently for a new meaning). We have to agonize and pray some more. We have to reiterate (go back and repeat).

We have to fight. Both partners need to engage in the fight for their marriage and believe they can make this work.

We can get back that loving feeling. It is possible. I have seen it done multiple times.

We were brought together for a reason and we were meant to stay together. We have to keep this vision of a long term future together. We will endure and prevail.

Yes, some relationships have to end. But not yours. Not if you are willing to work on it.

Abuse is the only valid reason to leave a relationship. The unrelentingly unwillingness to work on solutions destroys hope and once hope is gone, the unhappy alternative is to live in a loveless relationship or make an exit. This, however, does not need to be your story. There are plenty of redemptive stories of marriages where the loving feeling was recovered.

If your partner is asking for change, take it very seriously. Because this is your chance to do something that could be the salvation of your marriage. If one partner’s request for change goes on and on, for years without acknowledgement, then the fabric of the relationship will gradually deteriorate. And when your eyes are finally opened, it may be a case of there being too little invested too late. So take the request for change seriously.

Marriage requires requires constant adjustment and willingness to change.

Can you change? Do you know in what exact ways you need to change? Can you openly ask, what do you want from me? Because, it is worth doing what you can to get the loving feeling back.

The loving feeling is what both of you want and need. You must pursue it, consciously, or stand the risk of losing it.

 

 

 

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Posted in Communication, Social Media

Why You Shouldn’t Go Off of Facebook and What You Should Do Instead

I am giving you permission to stay on FB. I don’t know if you need that permission or not. But if you have been feeling overwhelmed, or obsessive, or guilty about your FB use, then you might want to read on.

The first reason why you shouldn’t go off of FB is because you like keeping up with what your friends are doing. You scroll down the NewsFeed and you see something funny, someone’s unique sense of humor, and it makes you laugh. Then a little further down you read that someone has a health challenge and maybe you make a short encouraging comment. You read further and see that your friend is expecting a baby. Yay! You congratulate her. And so on….

You enjoy FB or you would not be spending so much time on it.

The second reason is, believe it or not, just like you take an interest in your friends, they take an interest in you. Now, not everybody is diplomatic and understanding and some posts are downright offensive. It is not FB’s fault. It is the fault of your friends. But, I suspect that most of your interactions are actually pretty positive and you enjoy them, and others enjoy you. Your friends liked that humorous post you found, and The Happy Birthday banner you posted, or the Memories you shared. Maybe you posted your artwork or a craft you did. Your friends enjoy seeing what you are up to.

Keeping up with your friends and letting them keep up with you are the two most important reasons to stay on FB. If you honestly do need a break, then FB has an option called, “Deactivate.” This means your account will not be shut down forever. You can still see it but others can’t. You can do this while you think about whether you permanently want to go off FB.

However, I have a few ideas you might want to try before your deactivate, or–hopefully not–quit altogether. But first let’s take a look at some possible reasons you might be thinking of going off of FB.

You might have heard that FB is bad and that they are censoring stuff and limiting what people can see, even good stuff. That could be true. But FB is a tool. It is something you can use to satisfy your own purposes. It does not control what you do. Usually. I know there is the legitimate fear that something you post might be deemed offensive by FB and FB itself might shut you down. But that is a problem that has been experienced by a select few. The FB team tries to censor the bad stuff and they go overboard sometimes. But, for the most part, you are safe, if you behave reasonably decently on FB.

You might also be put off by the ads, and believe me, I am. But you can ignore them. There are even settings you can access to limit certain ads. I’ve limited a lot of ads. Whenever I see something that offends me, or that I am tired of seeing, I click the pull down menu on the right of the ad and indicate I don’t want to see any more of this. Of course I can’t control the very fact that there are ads, so I move on quickly. In this way I control my FB experience, to a great degree.

Some things you have no control over, like hackers, unfortunately. Anyone who has been a victim of hacking has felt violated and I can understand this. There is little we can do to defend ourselves. We can simply explain to our friends and march bravely on.

One important way to control your FB experience is to pay careful attention to who your friends are. If necessary, un-follow them if they constantly drag you down. At worst you can un-friend them. But this has caused numerous hurt feelings, so it’s probably best to un-follow, since they can’t tell if you un-follow.

You can also click “hide post,” if you don’t like someone’s post. I recently discovered that it is a good idea to click “hide post” after I make a comment on a post, like a “Happy Birthday” and I don’t want fifty notifications of others who have also wished this person a Happy Birthday.

You have a lot of control over your FB activity. That being said, you might still want to get off FB because it is consuming too much of your time.

Well, how about considering a few other options first. Here are some ideas.

  1. Take a one day “FB fast” every week.
  2. Go on FB to relax, like during a coffee break or in the evening.
  3. Go on FB every other day.
  4. Have short FB sessions of 5-10 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day.
  5. Have less frequent longer sessions and set a time limit, say one hour.
  6. Don’t go on FB when there are other people around.
  7. Go on FB only once you have completed certain chores.

In other words, craft FB around your life, around what makes sense to you. You still want the pleasure of interacting, but you don’t want FB to interfere with being your present with others in your daily life, or to stop you from doing the things that matter, or become a substitute for meeting face to face.

I find FB is great for keeping up with friends who live far away. For me that happens to be most of my friends. At one point I almost closed my account but then I reflected on how much I would lose. I thought of all those faces, all the people I want to keep up with, and I changed my mind. My reason for wanting to get off of FB was not so much the time I spent on FB, as it was my frustration with changes to FB which reduced my ability to interact with friends as effectively as I used to. But, alas, FB is not a perfect medium of communication.

Instead of leaving FB, I focused on ways I could continue to use FB as a great way to keep in touch.

So, think it over. You might be able to modify your FB use and not quit completely. But if you still find it is taking over your life and making you miserable, what can I say? The decision is yours. All the best!

 

Posted in Depression, Health, mental health

Don’t Let the Depression Monster Get You

drivingIt feels like I have battled depression all my life. I am familiar with a great many strains of depression. Depression is like a bacterial infection. It might go away on its own if left alone, or it might turn into a life-threatening disease. So the key is to get it under control early.

At its worst, the depression monster clouds you with a paralyzing feeling of doom and despair. I have only had this a few times and it made me very sympathetic to those who opt for a way out of this life.

In most cases you have the inner resources to defeat the depression monster. Myriads of people have resorted to meds and they can take the edge off. The trouble is there are side effects. I was prescribed meds by my doctor and I bought them. But I was so low that, knowing how depression medication can also make you suicidal during the first couple of months, I decided not to take the risk. I chose rather to live with what I knew and understood than introduce an element that could feed the monster.

Having spoken with people on medication I have learned that the lows are not as low, and the highs are not as high when they are on meds. It sort of puts you in a middle zone, numbing your senses. People who read this and have experience with medications will be able to tell you much more about how it works. I am not an authority. But I have also seen how medication can cause someone to spiral out of control, emotionally.

You may need to get medical help for depression. If you do, be sure you work closely with your doctor.

But, if like me, you decide to control this monster on your own, there are some things that have worked for me which I will share with you.

I was “down” a lot as a kid and a teenager. Some of it had to do with my home life. Some of it had to do with my temperament. I have the melancholy temperament common with artists and musicians.

We moved away from my friends and it took me years to find friends again, so I was alone a lot.  I was bullied a lot and had constant anxiety as a kid about getting on the bus in the morning or walking down the hallway at school because that is when my bully and his buds targeted me.

I had several things going for me as a kid. One was regular meals and good nutrition. If I were a doctor, this would be the first thing I would check if someone presented with depression. The second would be social support in terms of friends and family or at least associates. The third would be stressors.

Each of us has our own story of how the depression monster was fed and grew in our lives until one day he was out of control. My monster was out of control after I had my second child. Somehow I managed to clamber out of the deep dark dungeon I found myself in. I don’t remember much about that time, but what I do remember is that I told myself I would never let myself get so low again because it was too hard to get out.

As I write about this I have a great sense of inadequacy because of how I have failed to consistently tame the monster. However I am continuing, knowing there are things I have done that have definitely reduced the size of this monster and kept him at a respectable distance.

The first thing you have to realize about this monster is that you will have to fight him on your own. Nobody can do it for you. So you have to get some weapons. You have to understand your enemy. You have to track him, watch what he does, what makes him diminish, watch what empowers him.

What works for someone else may not work for you. You might find some of the things I share helpful while others will not work for you at all. You may have already discovered some things that help you. The only thing I say is don’t rely on unhealthy habits and supports because, even though they might appear to work, they will bite in the end. I’m talking about addictions. Unhealthy substance use and addictive activities. Remember, you want to be in control of your mind and your body. This feeling of control is the most powerful way to stave off the depression monster.

Some of us have already succumbed to addictions. And there are many different kinds. Be gentle with yourself. But make it your responsibility to choose the most healthy and wholesome course.

Cognitive behavioral counseling is the most effective form of counseling for depression and it is sometimes coupled with medication. In fact, medication is most effective when it is used in conjunction with counseling. Cognitive behavior counseling helps us change our thinking and behavior. Unfortunately, counseling costs a lot of money. And people who need counseling often don’t have insurance to cover the cost. So, you have to seek your own counsel.

I looked across at my doctor’s report in his office when he left the room for a minute and he had written down, chronic depression?? He was suggesting that I find a friend and go for regular walks. He said his wife did this. A good friend can be more helpful than a counselor.

There are so many little things I have done to keep my personal monster at bay. A lot of things I do without thinking. Some are pretty random. I’ll share a list I’ve managed to come up with. Honestly, this subject requires a book but I have tried to condense it.

  1. Light therapy. Don’t stay in a dark room during the day. Open the blinds and let light in. Turn on lights if you have to. Yellow or warm light is better than blue light. There are also special lamps you can get to stave off depression. Do some research. I have a friend who tans in the winter to get light. But heed the warnings about tanning.
  2. Keep relationships healthy. This takes a lot of work and will be a lifetime job. There may be friends you need to drop. There may be relatives with whom you need to spend less time. Conversations to avoid. Take time to study conflict resolution skills and how to share your needs and desires effectively. Express appreciation to others too, so that they will like to be with you. Limit negative influences, and this includes news articles, talk shows, videos, social media, etc. Guard your heart. Stay upbeat.
  3. Don’t watch movies in the morning or afternoon. This is when you want to be using your creative energy on important things. Movies are for the time of day when you wind down. They are a passive activity.
  4. Find a no-brainer game to play for half an hour to an hour a day. Generally a maximum of two hours because you don’t want it to turn into a mindless addiction. If done the right way it can put your brain in neutral and give it time to reset. People who are depressed are often over-thinkers so they need to put their thoughts on hold for awhile. Other activities can do this too.
  5. I’ve already mentioned nutrition. We used to own a restaurant and we frequently saw that vegetarians were the most unbalanced emotionally. They came in stressed and couldn’t make their minds up. You may vehemently disagree with me, but I am only speaking from my own experience. I can sink into a depression very quickly if I don’t have protein consistently on a daily basis. But people with other body types might be different. A small piece of meat or cheese twice a day is very helpful for me. And another reminder, eat vegetables every day for mental health. As far as supplements go, I suggest you consult your doctor or naturopath in addition to doing your own personal research.
  6. Don’t beat yourself up. Be gentle. And be firm. Learn your rhythms and work with them. What I have found very helpful, for instance with household chores, is to tell myself to do a small thing to clean up a room every time I walk into it. Disorder contributes to depression, so you want to focus on bringing order into your life. But don’t beat yourself up. Instead, learn to be consistent. Don’t allow yourself to become slack, but give yourself slack, if you know what I mean.
  7. Find the wholesome thing that brings you joy. It might be window shopping, going to a park, listening to music, painting, playing guitar, volunteering, making creative desserts, poking around at thrift stores, fixing things, hiking, taking photographs. Incorporate these things into each day.
  8. Realize that you can either have the body you want or eat the foods you want. You choose. I learned long ago that I will never be able to eat as many potato chips or donuts as I want. I struggle with getting to my ideal body weight, so I have told myself this will be a process that will take time. In the meantime, I watch that I don’t gain. It is the least I can do because gaining weight is depressing for me.
  9. Root out thoughts of hopelessness and despair. Thoughts like, “I can never do this. I am a failure. I am worthless.” The list is long. Begin by identifying your habitual negative thoughts and then work at reframing them. For instance, “I may have failed at a few things, but I can try again. I have also succeeded a few times and there is a good chance I will succeed again, soon, if I don’t stop trying.” “I am a very worthwhile human being by virtue of the fact that I am on this earth. I have a purpose and I am going to find out the unique ways in which I can make a difference.”
  10. Avoid the downward spiral. This requires recognizing it. Recognize what triggers it. It may be negative thought patterns. It may be wrong foods. It may be the time of month–Midol has helped me. Or it may be nothing you recognize. Sometimes you may just have to get up and show up and tell yourself that tomorrow will be a better day. And if you can’t do that, then you ought to seriously consider seeing your doctor because you could be suffering from an underlying medical condition.

If you try even a few of these suggestions you will find it makes a difference. Come to think of it, I haven’t even mentioned sleep and exercise, which are huge.

I fight this battle consistently. I think it helps to realize that it may be a bit futile to think I will actually slay the monster.

I try not to become too fixated on the monster. Instead I divert my attention elsewhere. I distract myself and work on developing healthy patterns. The monster seems to have less power when it is not the centre of attention.

When I focus on keeping my hope and joy alive, the depression monster kind of shrivels and sometimes even vanishes, for awhile.

Posted in Children, Food, Health, Home

Are You Getting Enough Vegetables?

veggies for breakfastIt’s always been a challenge for me to incorporate enough vegetables into the family diet. I tell myself things like, There’s Tomato in the Pizza. My A&W Buddy Burger has Onions in it. I had Sweet Potato Fries.

I once served a homemade lasagna to a mother and her family and she asked me at the table, Where are the vegetables? Well, clearly there was tomato in the lasagna, and my homemade recipe has a whole package of spinach in it. But she was looking for a salad, I imagine. I didn’t serve the customary Caesar salad with the lasagna.

A friend of mine has a salad for lunch every day. I can’t seem to force myself to do that. I guess I’m still a picky eater, like when I was a kid. I know my mom worried about getting enough food into my stomach.

Back when I was a child there was not so much emphasis on a balanced diet. I had “Tomato Soup” out of a can and “Noodle Soup” out of a box for lunch regularly. Sometimes we had my favorite, “Campbell’s Vegetable Soup.” I didn’t mind the few vegetables floating around the alphabet noodles, which I loved–the bits of carrot, a couple of peas and the occasional lima bean.

I remember two things I liked when I was a kid, besides Alphabet Soup. Macaroni and cheese, and corn. That was until the day I ate too much of it.

I have to confess to having a constant level of anxiety over providing the right diet for my children when they were growing up. I tried a lot of things. For instance, I insisted on nutrients in my bread and refused to buy “white” bread. When I baked I used unbleached flour, and I added wholesome ingredients like raisins, or nuts, or oatmeal to cookies and cakes. I also made carrot cake or zucchini loaf for dessert. The kids loved these and never complained about the vegetables. When we had pizza, I sometimes sprinkled extra chopped red or green peppers and cheese on top. They never minded. And later I began to serve pizza with vegetables and dip…or no dip, just carrot and celery sticks, maybe broccoli or cucumber slices and peppers. I also made the obligatory Caesar salad with my lasagna!

We had a two spoon rule at our house. When the kids turned their noses up at a food, we would say they had to eat two spoonfuls. That way I was sure that at least they were ingesting some nutrition on a regular basis. I was always conscious of needing to get something substantial into their little tummies.

I know there are women out there who have got this, but I am not one of them. I am still very aware of the need to serve vegetables more regularly in our home. A green salad every day would be my ideal but here I sympathize with the children. Please, don’t force me.

One mother I knew when my children were little would certainly have aced the vegetable exam. She and her family had the rosy cheeks and bright eyes and clear skin to show for it. She religiously incorporated fresh vegetable salads into every lunch and dinner. From her I learned how easy it is to mix cucumbers, tomatoes and onions and add a bit of balsamic vinegar and oil, and, voila! A salad! This was a regular staple of hers.

When I go to my mom’s home the salad is often missing from the table. And this is true of my house too. But I’m doing something about it. Maybe not as regularly as I would like. I reassure myself by telling myself that everything counts. Today I cooked Butternut Squash Soup. The other week I made a Turkey Vegetable Soup. I recently added broccoli to my rice casserole which also has onions. It was delicious! Sometimes I even make a salad.

Breakfast can be another opportunity to sneak in vegetables. Mostly on weekends, I add sliced avocado or a grilled tomato to my breakfast of eggs and sausage or bacon, or fry a vegetable hash of potatoes (pre-cooked in the microwave), red and/or green peppers and of course onion. During the week I will sometimes eat leftovers for breakfast that contain vegetables.

There are days when I just start to fry an onion and then throw in some chopped vegetables, whatever I have in the house, to create a main or side dish. It always seems to turn out alright, whether I add celery and carrots, or broccoli and mushrooms, or zucchini. Eggplant, ochra and bitter melon don’t lend themselves quite so well to this method. But even shredded cabbage works!

I’ve also learned that it is relatively easy to grill vegetables. Simply brush them with oil and put them in the oven. I like to use my toaster oven. A few weeks ago I did this with brussel sprouts and they were amazing. Zucchini and asparagus work well too.

When I go to a restaurant I try and incorporate a salad into my meal. This is a time when I take advantage of having selection. Or, at the least, I will choose steamed vegetables with my main course. There is a place that serves an amazing grilled salmon salad with roasted asparagus and almonds. I have this regularly. Another thing we do is always order a vegetable dish when we have Chinese food.

I know how much better I feel if half of my food intake consists of vegetables, according to current dietary recommendations. I have not reached my ideal and I don’t know if I ever will. But, as I said, every bit counts. Even just two bites per meal.

 

Posted in Abuse, Marriage & Family

Is He Abusive?

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Image courtesy of marin/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve been a reading a book entitled, The Emotionally Abusive Relationship, by Beverly Engel. This has led to me ask to what degree I have experienced abuse in my marriage. It has also made me question whether women (and men) have the insight they need to determine both the level of abuse in their relationships and the appropriate response.

I’ve also been doing some reading up on gaslighting and narcissism. Gaslighting is when one person makes accusations and insinuations that cause the other person to question their own sanity. A narcissist refers to someone who lives for attention. Life revolves around them and they do not have the normal feelings of empathy for others.

These kinds of deranged ways of thinking and behaving are the result of neglect and abuse in childhood, something I won’t get into here.

The question is, should you stay with someone who makes you doubt your own mental capacity? Should you stay with someone who repeatedly ignores your needs and is perhaps abusive in other ways?

How do you decide whether to leave or stay?

If a man physically abuses a woman, there is a clear line he has crossed. I, for one, would not tolerate physical abuse. I draw the line there. I would leave if my husband harmed me physically.

But mental and emotional abuse is not so easy to detect and to know when it has gone too far. Things get said in the heat of an argument. You get put down for something and you think, yeah, he’s right. I failed him. I should do better. Sometimes it is true. But when it becomes a pattern and starts to wear you down, that may be a sign that change is needed.

Habitual emotional abuse can go both ways. Women and men can both be narcissists. Either one can be gaslighting.

One way to determine if you are suffering from abuse is by comparing the person you are now with who you were before you were married. A couple of simple questions you can ask yourself are, has your confidence level changed, or have you become isolated and stopped seeing people, because of your spouse? If the answer is yes to either one or both, this reason for concern.

There are other indicators. Are things always your fault? Are you always the one expected to change? Are you made to feel inferior because of something you did or said, or the way you look, or the level of your education, or for any other reason?

In a healthy marriage one partner will be supportive and encouraging of the other partner. They will be willing to change when they recognize they are doing something that is potentially harmful to the relationship. They will also agree to be held accountable.

There ought to be a willingness both to see and admit the need for change and a willingness to change. But if one person has experienced abuse or neglect as a child they may feel very insecure and easily threatened by a request for change. Maybe they fear their partner no longer loves them, or will leave. For this reason it is important to preface a conversation about change with the reassurance that you want to stay in this relationship and this change is something you see as improving your marriage.

The goal is to have a great marriage. You can agree on that. Can you also agree on the importance of addressing what is hindering you from having this kind of marriage?

Any discussion of this nature has to come from a place of personal humility, not superiority. It is also necessary to recognize that you cannot make your partner change. The best you can do is paint a better picture and hope he or she will buy into it.

In our marriage, my husband has in the past tended to lose control of his temper. After a long time I finally confronted him and said this was not helping us to have a better marriage. He needed to control his anger. He saw that it was true and he agreed to work on it. From that point on there was an awareness on his part that he could do better and he did. Not only did he control his anger, but together we looked at possible triggers and we worked on those too.

It is important to spend some time and think through what needs to change. You may want to preface a conversation with something like, “I really need to talk to you about something that’s been on my mind for awhile. I love you, and I want to have the best marriage we can have. When you get angry, it makes me afraid and anxious. I don’t think that’s good for our marriage.” Or, “When you keep forgetting to take out the garbage, I feel like my needs aren’t important to you, like you don’t really care.” Or, “Sometimes I feel like other men care more about how I am feeling than you do. I feel like we are not really connecting emotionally a lot of the time.”

In a healthy relationship the other partner will see and admit a need for change. Because they are invested in making the marriage better they will also express a willingness to change. And remember, it is not a matter of who is right and who is wrong, but, what is best. Either of you can bring up the problem, but together you need to come up with a better plan.

Early in our marriage, when I brought up an area that needed change, my husband would immediately shift the conversation to something I needed to change. Tit for tat. This was not helpful. It brought confusion and meant the issue could not be fully dealt with. When we recognized that we could only deal with one issue at a time, we began to move forward and gain insight. We focused on the one issue, and, out of respect, we focused on the first issue that was brought up. The others could be dealt with at a later time.

A husband and wife will both have areas where change is needed. The all important question is, can we talk about this?

If one partner is always tiptoeing around the other, not wanting to rile them, or to hurt them, this is not a good indication. It might be necessary to say, “I feel like I can’t talk to you about things that are really important to me, because you will get hurt or angry. But, if we want to have a good marriage, there are things that I have spent a long time thinking about that I see as needing to change and we need to talk about these, or we will grow distant. I think that’s already started to happen and I don’t want us to be that way. Can we talk? Is this a good time? If not, then let’s do it another time. But let’s not put this off too long.”

Remember when we learned to do speeches in school? Well, here is a real life application of that lesson. You may need to think through and prepare a speech, actually plan the right words to use. You will find that some approaches are much more effective than others.

One more thing. Conversations like this should be rare. Too much time spent on fixing can drag a marriage down. The focus of the majority of your time together is to be on creating pleasant memories that will serve kind of like bank deposits, building a cushion, that will have a shock absorption affect in rougher times.

Do you talk together as a couple about the goal for your marriage? Do you paint verbal pictures of want your marriage to look like? Are you feeling better about your marriage this year than you did last year? Are you more relaxed, more content? Do you feel more loved?

Although some marriages need to end because of abuse, I think many times marriages could thrive if partners are able to get to the root of their problems and learn ways of working through things with the goal of an improved relationship.

Target the specific problem. Hold each other accountable and expect change. Your marriage is worth the effort.

But, if there is an unwillingness or inability to change in essential areas, you may be living in an abusive situation and you need to seek help or even consider leaving your partner. This is especially true if you fear for your own safety. In extreme cases you need to have a support group to help with a strategy.

Is he or she abusive? If you are being hurt over and over again, yes. If promises are made and repeatedly broken, yes. If you cannot trust your partner, yes. If you feel like you have diminished to a person you no longer recognize, yes. You need to seek help.

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6 Things You Can do to Help Beat the Heat

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With temperatures rising into the thirties (or nineties if you are reading fahrenheit) there are a few things you can do to manage the heat in your home if you don’t have air conditioning.

1. Hang curtains in front of windows that let in a lot of heat and close the curtains and blinds, particularly when the sun shines on the windows.

2. Keep the cool air in. Cool off your house at night when temperatures drop. Let the cool air in at night by opening windows. A fan in front of a window, facing into the room, can draw in air. I have taken a light-weight towel and twirled it like a fan in rotation in the hallway between two bedrooms, with the doors and windows open, just to get air movement and air coming inside. This works quickly to get cool air inside. Try to keep the inside of your home cool as long as possible by closing doors and windows during the hottest time of the day.

3. Have a fan on. Simple.

4. Use a wet facecloth to moisten skin. Lie down and put a cold, wet facecloth on your forehead to cool down for a few minutes. Or take a cool shower and put on comfortable, light clothing.

5. Don’t use the stove or dishwasher during the hottest times of the day. Do your dishwashing and cooking early in the day because it heats up the house. Refrigerate your prepared food and re-heat in the microwave.

6. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Coconut water is an excellent re-hydrating drink. Prepare salads like potato salad or bean salad, etc. for meals. BBQ outside or serve cold, cooked meats. Have fresh fruit and vegetables available in the refrigerator as well as frozen desserts such as freezies.

The other option is to leave your hot home and head for a cooler place like the local community centre, library or mall.

If you find the heat intolerable, you might want to look at purchasing an air conditioner. Free standing air conditioners begin at around $300 and window units sell for even less. But keep in mind that you get more cooling power for more money. These units usually only cool one room.

Hot weather means slow down. Limit your time in the sun and your physical exertion.

Beware of the signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion and head to a medical centre or call 911 if you start to feel unwell because of the heat.

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Fake News Intentionally Created by 20th Century Fox to Promote Movie

ID-10077829Below is an article that tells us how fake news happens. Note that this was not some hacker, some criminally minded person, or some random person out to play a practical joke. It was 20th Century Fox creating these fake news websites to get attention for their movie. Maybe they thought it was a clever joke, but the problem is we weren’t in on the joke. And we don’t think it’s funny, now that we know of their deception. I have highlighted segments in grey. Grey (Italics) are my comments.

When fake news and marketing don’t mix: 20th Century Fox apologizes for movie’s ad campaign

It may have worked in Blair Witch era, but experts say today’s media environment isn’t right for hoax sites

By Solomon Israel, CBC News Posted: Feb 18, 2017 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Feb 18, 2017 5:00 AM ET

Experts say the backlash to an ad campaign by film studio 20th Century Fox offers an important lesson in modern marketing: advertising and fake news don’t mix in today’s media environment.

A marketing campaign for A Cure For Wellness, director Gore Verbinski’s new thriller about a mysterious Swiss health spa, created a small constellation of fake local news websites with headlines like “Psychological thriller screening leaves Texas man in catatonic state.”

Other fake headlines had only tenuous thematic connections to the film, such as “Trump orders CDC to remove all vaccination-related information from website,” or “BOMBSHELL: Trump and Putin spotted at Swiss resort prior to election.”

Photo & Caption

A Cure for Wellness fake news

An archived version of the website for The Sacramento Dispatch — which is not a real news media outlet — shows fake news headlines meant to promote the 20th Century Fox film. (Archive.org)

According to a report from Buzzfeed News, various stories from the fake news websites were shared across social media by readers who may not have known they were hoaxes. (That was the whole intent, wasn’t it?) The websites were taken down following Buzzfeed’s report, and now redirect visitors to the official website for A Cure for Wellness.

20th Century Fox issued an apology for the campaign after the story was picked up by other major media outlets. (But by that time it had achieved the desired affect. More attention from media backlash might have been part of the plan too.)

Branding problem for Fox Entertainment

On top of the ethical issue of deceiving people with fake news, 20th Century Fox may have really upset the people who were misled, according to Peter Darke, a marketing professor who studies consumer trust at York University’s Schulich School of Business.

“We know that consumers who are manipulated in this way respond negatively when they realize that the whole purpose of this tactic was simply to grab their attention,” said Darke.

‘Because of the current journalistic climate that we’re in, there’s just no appetite for this whatsoever.’

– Vincent Georgie, professor of film marketing

That breach of trust is especially egregious, said Darke, because the parent company of 20th Century Fox, Fox Entertainment Group, also owns Fox News.

“Consumers can easily make the link between a Fox movie and Fox News,” he said.

Ken Wong, with the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, is less certain that moviegoers will make that connection. Still, he said the ad campaign was a bad idea.

“I think it is typical of marketing in its most amateur form, where the only attempt at appreciation is to try and be cute or to garner attention without any due regard for the longer-term consequences of how you’re garnering that attention,” Wong said.

Bad timing

20th Century Fox deserves some credit for its creative campaign, said Vincent Georgie, who studies film marketing as an assistant professor at the University of Windsor. But the studio went too far by failing to explicitly signal to readers that the fake news websites were part of a promotional campaign.

“Conceptually, it’s kind of interesting,” said Georgie. “But it was executed in a way that you don’t know it’s a joke. And that’s the problem with it. If the audience is not in on the joke at all, it’s not perceived as a joke — it’s actually perceived very negatively and very seriously.

“Because of the current journalistic climate that we’re in, there’s just no appetite for this whatsoever.”

The rest of the article makes a brief reference to the influence of fake news on the U.S. election and discusses how fake news was used to promote the independent, low budget movie The Blair Witch Project.

Here are some examples of what 20th Century Fox admitted doing as taken from the Buzzfeed News article, A Hollywood Film is Using Fake News to Get Publicity .

BuzzFeed News contacted Regency Enterprises, one of the film’s producers with the information connecting the sites to the film. A spokesperson confirmed they are working with the fake sites and provided a statement.

“A Cure for Wellness is a movie about a ‘fake’ cure that makes people sicker,” it said. “As part of this campaign, a ‘fake’ wellness site healthandwellness.co was created and we partnered with a fake news creator to publish fake news.”

Note that at least five sites were created and allowed to run fake stories.

The five sites pumping out fake news and promotion for the film are Sacramento Dispatch, Salt Lake City Guardian, Houston Leader, NY Morning Post, and Indianapolis Gazette. They use similar designs, and also all have the same Google analytics ID embedded in their source code. Many of the sites’ domain names were registered on the same day: The Sacramento and Salt Lake City sites were registered on Jan. 14, and the Indianapolis and Houston sites were both registered back on Sept. 27.

The sites also run many of the same fake stories. For example, a false story, “‘Trump Depression Disorder’ Classified As A Disease By The American Medical Association” appears on all of the sites. Notably, the story ends with a call to action for the public “to tweet #cureforwellness to raise awareness of the growing epidemic.” That’s the hashtag for the film.

Here is more.

The sites are also willing to capitalize on potentially deadly natural disasters and political polarization to generate traffic and engagement. A story from today falsely claimed Trump denied California federal funds to help with the situation in Oroville, where over 180,000 people have been evacuated due to the potential breach of the Oroville Dam. The story has already generated over 20,000 Facebook engagements and is generating a lot of anger towards Trump from people on Facebook.

I think Vincent Georgie has said it very clearly, that there is no public appetite for this kind of manipulation.