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Marriage & the Holidays

Marriage & the Holidays

Remember when you committed yourself to the person of your dreams? Remember when you tied the knot of harmonious bliss? Remember when you gave yourself mentally, physically and spiritually to your significant other? Not only is your relationship important in your life, it is vital for your overall wellbeing.

Each year that passes in a marital relationship will bring either positive deposits or negative withdrawals in the harmonious bank account of WE. How’s your account balance?

During the upcoming weeks and days the Bermuda Triangle of stress can and possibly will wrap its arms around your marriage. These are the holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. They are supposed to be joyful, spiritual and happy for all. The reality, however, has our family and friends, alcohol, excessive food, gifts with eventual bills culminating into a potentially stressful time of the year. Throw in the breadwinner(s) scrambling to meet year-end quotas and the stress-o-meter can go off the chart.

How do you prevent a major withdrawal in love, harmony, togetherness, bliss and happiness?

Here’s a short list to increase the five intangibles that create a great marriage.

  1. Self-discipline: With “free will” re-commit to the small tasks of partnership that lead to well-defined goals and ultimately a shared life vision of togetherness. What tasks or unsolicited acts of kindness can you do for your mate? What can you do to insure your significant other is not carrying the burden of organization for the holidays? Do you have a fair and agreed upon budget for the rest of the year? Are your travels, parties, dinners all planned and agreed upon? It’s time to get the marriage disciplined. Get prepared!
  2. Concentration: Focus more energy on your spouse. Stop taking things for granted. Lock-in on non-verbal cues from your mate. Notice any signs of stress and act on it swiftly to alleviate it. Say “No” to unnecessary parties and last minute invites that the other might find stressful.
  1. Optimism: Love conquers all. That’s right! When chaos of the holidays rears it ugly head, remember that love conquers all. Say “I love you” more than ever during this potentially stressful stretch of days. Believe and expect a smooth holiday transition into next year. See what you want. Avoid thinking about what you don’t want. That includes family squabbles, excessive bills and fatigue from shopping, traveling and over-indulging.
  2. Relaxation: Slow down the game starting now and through the New Year. Take your time and breathe. Plan shopping early to avoid worry, anxiety and unnecessary stress. Jaw unhinged when the in-laws arrive.
  3. Enjoyment: I love being with her/him. I love this time of year. I love giving as much, if not more, than receiving. Keep the smiles coming. No complaining. No victim of circumstance, condition or situation. Enjoy the family even if Uncle Earl says some things that are out of line or just plain rude. That’s just Uncle Earl!

Balance these five intangibles and your relationship will be ready to withstand anything the end of the year will bring. Make up your mind that “nothing” will pull your relationship apart. Nothing. No people. No bills. No chaos. No fatigue. No family members. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Love conquers all.

Get ready for an awesome holiday season. Live every day like it’s your last. Most of all, treat your significant other as the life partner you coveted when you walked to the altar and said your vows. For better or worse, have a great, festive time of the year. It’s time to get your marriage in the Zone.

50 Tips to Build Great Relationships

50 Tips to Build Great Relationships

By: Jim Fannin

If your office or home is on fire, get people to safety, grab all cash and take your database (if it’s on the Cloud…good). Your personal and professional databases are your most prized possessions. Within these databases are your relationships.

Create, build and protect your databases at all costs.

Over the course of a lifetime, you will have many relationships that you nurture within your databases. Hopefully, most will be rewarding and beneficial. Siblings, parents, co-workers, vendors, teammates, friends, teachers, significant others, children and people you conduct regular business, such as a florist, plumber, accountant, doctor, shop owner, etc. will ALL play a role in YOU living a happy, healthy life.

When life is over, the positive relationships you have developed will be your greatest accomplishment.

Great relationships equal a great life.

We develop positive relationships over time. Trust will be a strong component in this development. Like anything else, there are ebbs and flows and this is true with relationships. With different agendas, this happens. However, great relationships last a lifetime and they require consistency in effort, trust, compassion and understanding.

It’s time to build better relationships in your life. Take none for granted. As a Relationship MVP, you’ll enjoy a myriad of rewards. At the top of the list is seeing people you care about thrive.

Your relationships win. You win.

Here are 50 tips (in no special order) to get your family, co-workers, team members, etc. in a receptive Zone mindset of positivity. Add or subtract from this list freely. You’ll swiftly find the ones you can improve. Focus on a few and incorporate them into the natural flow of your life.

  1. Acknowledge positive organization, time management and discipline.
  2. Be patient.
  3. Compliment. Compliment.
  4. Avoid second-guessing strategy and tactics after the fact.
  5. Always seek common ground. If needed, revert to what you agree.
  6. Greet all with extreme, upbeat positivity. Look them in the eye.
  7. Say Goodbye like you mean it. Make the departure heartfelt.
  8. See the future as a purposeful partnership.
  9. Assist in another person’s focus by not interrupting them.
  10. Commend other’s attention to detail and quality of work.
  11. Be silent (but focused) in a crisis situation, circumstance or condition.
  12. Sprinkle silence within normal conversations so you can focus on body language, voice inflection and tonality, in order to positively respond to any verbal, nonverbal, and visual negative cues.
  13. Get single-minded in your focus. Have the mindset of “No place I’d rather be than here now.” People will feel this engaging attitude.
  14. Keep the matter at hand extremely simple. Less is more.
  15. Avoid talking over people.
  16. Exchange smiles frequently.
  17. Praise and commend judiciously and as often as warranted.
  18. Acknowledge positive actions.
  19. Avoid bringing up the negative past.
  20. Look people in the eye. Fully engage.
  21. Avoid looking at your phone, computer, TV or clock while in discussion. Showcase and respect that their time matters.
  22. Avoid the need to always give your viewpoint and or opinion at the end.
  23. Negative feelings left unexpressed will turn into negative actions. Speak your mind in a judicious manner. However, be blunt and upfront.
  24. Speak and act calm and cool and it will be easily mirrored.
  25. Give instructions in a relaxed demeanor and negative stress will be diffused.
  26. Have a soft and warm demeanor throughout any crisis.
  27. Take a “cool down” period of no more than 90-seconds before responding to something you disagree or do not like. Be the palm tree in a verbal hurricane.
  28. Do not take yourself so seriously.
  29. Use positive humor where appropriate.
  30. Avoid sarcasm in a joking manner. It is easily misconstrued.
  31. Laugh more frequently.
  32. Avoid overselling you, your career, family and life.
  33. Ask great questions and you’ll receive great answers.
  34. Mirror other people’s enjoyment.
  35. Talk about what provides joy to others.
  36. If the other person initiates the subject matter, let them change it.
  37. Be aware if the tone suddenly changes from positive to negative.
  38. Observe other’s self-deprecating putdowns and disagree with them.
  39. When you strike a passionate cord, leverage the situation and expound on it.
  40. Know and care about other’s dreams, aspirations, and goals.
  41. Introduce positive relationships to others. Be the influencer and connector.
  42. Be consistent in your mood and actions.
  43. Avoid spreading or accepting rumors, gossip or hearsay.
  44. Never act like a victim or judge.
  45. Eliminate profanity.
  46. Be judicious and guarded in expressing your views on sex, religion and politics.
  47. Apply the Golden Rule in all relationships.
  48. Remember to act on the important dates in another’s life (birthday, anniversary, special accolades, promotions, graduation, etc.)
  49. Always speak the truth. Be genuine and sincere. Period.
  50. Build people up, NOT down.

Peruse the various arenas in your life and inspect the key people within. Which relationships need mending? Which one needs a boost? Which one needs a reset?

Which one is toxic and needs immediate attention? Which one (if any) needs to be deleted?

It’s time to get ALL of your relationships in the Zone.

Who’s In Control Of The Remote?

Who’s In Control Of The Remote?

By Jim Fannin

Do I get frustrated with my significant other? Never. Am I impatient with her? Never.

Well… there is one time that maybe I do.

It’s the *&#*$ remote control. When it’s in her hands, it’s as if an alien takes over her body. She will change channels with the speed of an auctioneer on a triple espresso latte. The amazing thing is that she can make decisions on whether to watch something or not within 5 seconds. The other amazing thing is that within 5 seconds I can get locked into the program with all of my mental faculties, only to have the images ripped out of my mind with the flick of the remote control.

Ok, this frustrates me!

Of course, couples love to be with each other every minute of every day. But every now and then we need our space to do what we need to do. And on occasion, I need to watch sports and she needs to watch A&E. Obviously, we need two TVs in two separate places of the house. No remote problems here… or so I thought.

On this particular night, I was enjoying watching LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers dismantle the Atlanta Hawks. In another room, she was watching a Cold Case File about a grizzly murder that had remained unsolved.

“Ahh… my own remote control.”

Peace, tranquility and locked in the Zone as LeBron goes to the hole for a patented dunk. And just before his coup de grace, the station changed by itself to a detective trying to solve a twenty year old cold case. WHAT?!

Is my wife crawling on her hands and knees behind the couch with the remote control, changing the channels? No one was there. I turned back to the game. LeBron’s by the 3-point line with two men on him. He goes up for the shot… back to A&E… the TV mysteriously switches. “Noooooooooo!”

“Ok, this is not funny!”

I go upstairs and find my wife in the bedroom munching chips with guacamole, while watching A&E. “Did you come downstairs?” I demanded.

“No, why?”

“Are you sure you didn’t come downstairs and change the channel?”

“What do you mean, me? You’ve been changing the channels.”

“What? I’ve been changing the channels? Are you nuts?”

“Yeah I’m watching A&E and right when the case is about to be solved, the TV switches to a basketball game.”

We both look outside our windows to see if some phantom has a universal remote and is changing our channels. Is the cable company playing some kind of a joke?

We call our local TV guru and ask about the mysterious channel-changing challenge. After forking over a service charge, here’s what he said. “Your remotes were programmed on the same radio frequency so that when one changes the channel on one TV, it changes the channel on the other.

“You really didn’t trust me, did you?”

“Yes honey. I trusted you,” I said with a gulp.

“But you accused me of doing something I didn’t do,” she said with a look of grave disappointment. “And you were mean!”

“You’re right. I’m sorry. I don’t know why I would accuse you.”

I wonder if that murder case was ever solved? She watches that show a lot. Do you think she’d ever know how to cover one up? Maybe we do need to watch TV together.

I’ll even let her have the remote.