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Friday, March 29, 2013

Rose Pedals & Chocolate Dipped Strawberries


According to research cited by Lori Lowe for the book "The Normal Bar" in which over 70,000 couples were surveyed to identify relationship "secrets" it was found that 29% of women desire more romance in their relationship. To me that isn't surprising. What is surprising is that 44% of men desired more romance. As I thought about this I realized that this is probably true for my marriage as well. I know that my wife enjoys romance and romantic dates and activities and so I try to plan and carry them out because I know that is what she wants and I want her to be happy but often I overestimate how much romance she expects. I put pressure on myself to make every date and every get-away romantic and that is simply unnecessary. I need to do a better job discussing with Cami what she actually wants; when I have done this in the past I've found that often she would rather just have fun with me or take a nap. She loves naps.
 
The other problem I find myself struggling with is the stereotypical idea of romantic. A room at a bed and breakfast with rose pedals all over the bed, chocolate covered strawberries on a silver platter on an antique table in the corner, the sun setting in the window just as you enter the room... you know what I'm talking about. We see a variation of this in nearly every romantic comedy (at least in the ones that my wife picks out). Often a stroll around the block we live on together, holding hands of course, is all the romance that is needed. Although I will admit that chocolate covered strawberries seem to make everything better for my sweetheart.


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To sum up: I put too much pressure on myself to make everything romantic and I blame television and romantic comedies. That being said, romance is important the key is identifying when and how much. I want to thank Lori Lowe for conducting this research. Her website, www.marriagegems.com, contains other gems that she has discovered about marriage. I encourage you to check it out.
 
I've also linked up with the From House to Home link party.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

100 Acts of Kindness UPDATE

 
First off, thank you to everyone who commented on my first installment of 100 Acts of Kindness (f you don't know what I'm referring to click here) and to those who visited and read about it. For those of you that have decided to join me in my endeavor I congratulate you and would love to hear about your progress.

Okay, here's my progress report:

7. On Monday I found a Rolo in my office. This is one of my wife's favorite candies so I brought it home to her.
8. We have a whiteboard next to our front door and I wrote on it: "Cooper Residence. Home of the sexiest woman ever! (and the man who loves her)".  She really liked this.
9. I put away the clean dishes on Monday morning
10. I had a lunch meeting on Tuesday and when the meeting was over there was food left over so I brought some home for my wife
11. Tuesday evening I took my wife to Les Miserables in Richmond, Virginia. It was awesome!
12. We went out to dinner before Les Mis and I helped my wife finish her meal (okay, this one is a little self-serving; her broccoli-cheese soup was delicious!)
13. I held her coat and purse for her while she was in the bathroom at the theater
14. On Wednesday morning I got up early with the children so that Cami could sleep a little bit longer
15. I came home for lunch on Wednesday to watch the kids so that Cami could go out to each with some friends (she didn't end up going but I still came home when she asked me to so it counts)
16. When she came home from the grocery store I helped her unload the car and put away the groceries
17. Last night she wanted to watch a television show at 11:15pm (which is after our normal bedtime) and she wanted me to watch it with her. So I stayed up and watched it with her; at least until I fell asleep during the show.

I hope you're making progress as well. I really need to pick up the pace but I have already found myself looking for nice things to do for my wife without expecting anything in return. She's amazing and I need to treat her that way. What kind things have you done for your spouse this week?

Follow my progress via email by entering your email address into the "follow me" box at the left!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Weekly Top Five

I know that a top five should be a list of five, however, this time it is only three. So, last week's (March 17th-March 23rd) top THREE interesting articles and blog posts are:
  1. Great article by the director of the National Marriage Project. He shares his research about couples and how the way they manange their finances reflects their level of commitment. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/03/21/the-power-of-the-prenup/if-you-want-a-prenup-you-dont-want-marriage
  2. Fun ideas on how to get spring started the right way http://simplemarriage.net/20-ways-to-start-a-romantic-spring/
  3. Treasuring the Moments http://encourageyourspouse.com/embracing-the-moment-a-guest-post/
Next week I should have five. :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

South by Southwest

I had the privilege of attending a work related conference earlier this month in Austin, Texas. Whenever I go to conferences (I attend about three a year) I try to take my sweet wife with me so that she gets some time away from the children and can enjoy a short "vacation" from them. It is also a little selfish because I like spending the evenings after the conferences are over with her rather than by myself.  The only problem is that she sleeps most of the time, however, since we have three small boys I don't blame her for being tired and trying to catch up on some sleep. Thankfully I was able to bring my wife with me to this one and she got plenty of sleep.

I love being with my sweetheart and I'm grateful she was able to go with me to Austin (we were there at the same time the South by Southwest festival was going on and Austin was a mess with traffic and people because of the festival. My advice is don't go to Austin during the festival unless you're there to participate in it). It's a pretty city and we enjoyed the few days we spent there. Here are a few pictures we took while we were there (isn't my wife beautiful?!).
 

 

The point of this is that we need to try harder to spend time together. My wife and I are very busy serving in our church, raising three boys, building my career, and trying to help others that we have to really try to spend time together and focus on our friendship. And I'm sure we're not the only married couple in the world that is really busy. Be creative, have fun, think outside of the box, and most importantly just cherish what time you do have together. We loved being together in Austin and we look forward to the next little get away where it's only the two of us.

Monday, March 25, 2013

100 Acts of Kindness

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On Friday I decided I needed to challenge myself and try a little harder to show my wife I love her and appreciate her. Sometimes I just get complacent and caught up in the routines of life and don't adequately demonstrate my gratitude for her and for what she does for me and for our family. So here's the challenge that I came up with, I'm calling it the "Race to 100" (I know that's not the most creative name; if you have a better name please let me know). Here's how it works: I am going to do 100 things to show my wife I'm grateful for her as fast as I can, they should be things that I'm not already supposed to do (my chores). It's that simple. I started this on Friday and every couple of days I'll post what I've done and where I'm at so far. I'm anxious to see how quickly I can make it to 100. Here's what I've done so far:
  1. I put away the clean dishes on Friday morning
  2. I washed the dirty dishes on Friday morning before my wife woke up
  3. We watched a movie on Friday night and I asked my wife to sit on the floor in front of me so that I could play with her hair (she loves that)
  4. I had to work on Saturday (I don't normally) and so I spent an extra 30 minutes cuddling with my wife telling her that I love her and love being with her before I got ready for work and left
  5. I put new sheets on the bed (we typically change the sheets on Saturday) and made it all pretty
  6. Yesterday I helped make dinner (we had homemade pizza) by spreading the pizza sauce, putting the cheese on the pizza, and adding the pepperoni and olives
I would love for you to join me in this personal challenge to do 100 kind things as quickly as you can for your spouse. I also invite you to share your list of kind things with me. I would love to see it. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Small & Simple, that's what it's all about

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I have learned over the last decade that one of the keys to a happy marriage is paying attention to the small and simple things (in fact I almost chose that as the name of this website). Here's one example from my life. I try to be a gentleman; I do not believe that chivalry is dead. Despite the fact that many people believe that women are equal to men I wholeheartedly disagree.  Women are SO much better than men.  I have no doubt that my wife is better than me.  That is why it is my goal to make sure she remembers that no one else could worship her like I do. So, I pay attention to the small things: I open doors for her (she even gets in trouble when she doesn't let me), I tell her that I love her at nearly every opportunity, if she's cold I offer to let her wear my jacket or coat, I proudly introduce my wife to the people that we run into that I know and she does not, and I fiercely protect her good name. No one is allowed to speak ill of my wife in my presence. She is amazing.
 
Small and simple things. That's what it is all about. If you don't already to do it men, be a gentleman and open the door for your wife. She'll be pleasantly surprised and you'll find it rewarding. Treat her like a queen and she won't throw you back into the pond. Remember, she's better than you so it's your job to give her a reason (or better yet many reasons) to keep you.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Giggle Fits

I love to laugh. I love to laugh with my wife. We believe that one of the most important things that we can do together, especially when times are more difficult, is to laugh. Over the years we have found several sure fire ways to make us laugh.

My wife taught me this when we were dating. Sit upside down on the couch and start smiling. In minutes most people we have spoken to that have done this start laughing in less than a minute and often it becomes almost uncontrollable. Cami and I begin laughing and can't stop for several minutes. We're not sure if it's the blood rushing to our brains or the absurdity of what we're doing but it works every time.

Another way we can always get ourselves to laugh is by watching one of our two favorite comedians: Brian Regan and Tim Hawkins. Here is a YouTube clip of each of them. Enjoy!




Remember to laugh together. The couple that laughs together stays together.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Show Your Support

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Has your wife seemed stressed lately? I assume you have talked to her about as a good husband would. You've asked her how her day was, listened intently as she described the challenges that she is facing, and shared words of encouragement and support with her. Then what? Did you back up your words with actions? I have found that listening and verbal comfort are very important to my wife but I can really earn points with her when I take the next step and show that I listened and demonstrate my support. Here are three suggestions for how to SHOW your support and help relieve some of the stress that your wife may be feeling:
  1. Give her a hug. We all love to be held so just throw your arms around her, hold her tight, and let her know that you think she is amazing. Let the hug linger for a couple of minutes. A good hug will help relax your wife.
  2. Sit her down and then stand behind her and give her a shoulder massage. Most of us carry a lot of tension in the muscles in our shoulders and neck. Spending ten minutes massaging these muscles and loosening them up will make a huge difference to your wife (Note: after a good massage you will want to make sure that she drinks a lot of water; massages release toxins that are in our muscles and if they do not get flushed out of our bodies they can cause headaches and actually make us feel physically worse off).
  3. Brush her hair. Women generally love having their hair played with. Be sure to be gentle. And a tip if you've never brushed a woman's hair before: start from the end of her hair and work your way to her head; this is what my wife taught me and it keeps the brush from getting stuck in large knots and thereby causing pain for your wife.
If you're really ambitious, or if your wife is really stressed out, try all three suggestions. What's really neat about these suggestions is that you and your wife can continue to discuss what is going on in her life while you are showing your support and love. Whether you try one or all three you'll find that your wife will be more relaxed and will appreciate your love and support. You might even enjoy it too!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Noteworthiness

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Is your marriage "noteworthy"?

What I mean is, do you love your spouse enough to leave them love notes? When was the last time you wrote them a note letting them know that you were thinking about them?

Love notes are great both to give and receive. Remember in middle school how you would get excited and your heart would flutter a little bit when you would open your locker and find a note? That only happened to me once or twice but what an exciting day! Thankfully I have a wonderful wife who leaves me notes all of the time. In fact, she has left me so many little sticky notes and other momentos that I have a folder in my office at work that is called "Folder of Cami Love" (she came up with the name) that I put old notes in to make room for new ones. Sometimes she'll even sneak into my office and draw little pictures on sticky notes and stick them on the edges of my computer monitor so that I'll see them when I come back. I love it! It makes me feel loved and appreciated. I know that she is thinking about me and it causes me to pause and think about her. I am reminded how much she loves me and how grateful I am for her. Admittedly, I need to be better about leaving her notes.

Here are three creative ways to leave a love note for your spouse today:
  1. Write "I Love You!" on a post-it note and put it on the steering wheel. That way the next time your spouse gets in their car they will see it.
  2. Put a love note in their shoe. I promise that for the rest of the day when they look at their shoes they will think of you.
  3. Send a text message. There is something special about a hand-written note but a text message is great too because you can send it quickly and at any time of the day. Sometimes my wife will send me a text message when she knows I am in a meeting just to distract me (I pretend to be annoyed but she knows that I love it).
There you go. I challenge you to show that your marriage is "noteworthy" and leave a love note for your spouse today. Then let me know how it goes.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Marital "Interdigitation"

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When was the last time you held hands with your spouse (referred to by one of my friends as marital interdigitation)? For me, it was yesterday in the car on our way to church. We held hands later at the dinner table too as we said a prayer over our meal (I have my oldest son to thank for this one. He's five and he insisted that we hold hands for our dinner prayer yesterday).

Happiness and love in marriage is all about the small and simple things like holding hands. Many relationships, most probably, begin with the couple holding hands. It's simple but it conveys an intimacy and desire to be close both physically and emotionally. It's also really easy to hold hands and can be done in a variety of situations: in the car, on a walk, while watching television, reading a book, at church, during a meal (this is not meant to be an exhaustive list). Try holding hands today and see what happens. You'll like it, I guarantee it.

So, when was the last time you held hands with your spouse?

Monday, March 11, 2013

"Breaking the Barrier"

My mother and sister shared this with me last week. I found it pretty hilarious. It is a good reminder that with time barriers in relationships will be broken and that is not necessarily a bad thing. We need to develop an appropriate level of comfort with our spouse in order for our love to continue to grow and expand. It's really all about trust, obviously the couple in this video trusts each other enough to... well you'll find out soon enough. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Marriage Proposal with a Splash!

I just wanted to share a good laugh, this is pretty funny.  Enjoy!


If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all

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My beautiful wife stumbled across this article on FoxNews.com earlier this week and shared it with me.  It is written by Steven Crowder and is marvelous! I could not say it better myself so here's the link to his article.

There was also a video interview with him that is very insightful as well.

I would love to know what you think. Share it with me in the comments or by email at tysontcooper@gmail.com.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

We and Thank You

I was reminded today of the importance of being inclusive in our marriages. So many things in our society are focused on the individual and we are trained to think of ourselves first. For those that are Christian, we are instructed in the Bible to cleave unto our spouse and to become one flesh (KJV, Genesis 2:24). Often I hear friends and relatives make statements like "my wife is pregnant" or "my paycheck". This surprises me. I can't say that I am perfect and that I never do this but I make a conscious and concerted effort to say "we" because my wife and I are in it together. We are pregnant (which we are presently) and our paycheck and our life. Being inclusive brings us together mentally so that we form an intertwined image of ourselves and our spouse in our minds. Doing this consistently will bring us closer together and help create the oneness that is necessary to reap the joys that are available in marriage.
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Thank you is also important. Saying "thank you" is critical to developing and maintaing gratitude for our spouse. And when we are grateful for them they become increasingly grateful for us. Gratitude creates an environment where love can grow, trust can mature, and happiness can flourish.

Both are small and simple but critical. Remember, think "WE" today.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Marriage to Mars

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Dennis Tito, a multimillionaire investment consultant, announced plans to launch a married couple on a mission to the planet Mars. An article about this in the Washington Post yesterday asked reported that the trip will take about 500 days and the objective is to orbit Mars and head home. Scientists are hoping to learn what effect the monotony of deep space travel (all of the darkness, confined space, and lack of variety in companionship) is on humans. As I finished the article I wondered "If my wife and I were selected to participate how would we fare? Would we be more in love with each other at the end of the experience or absolutely sick of one another?" I would like to believe that we would be even more madly in love because of the opportunity to spend that much time together without any other distractions getting to know each other better. I imagine we would have arguments and probably even fights but because we were in a confined space we would have to refine our conflict resolution skills. While I doubt my wife would ever sign on for such an adventure I think it would be wonderful for our marriage if we approached it with the right attitude. 

What do you think? What would 500 days in space do for your marriage?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Classic Love Story

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The other day I stumbed upon one of the cutest tellings of a love story I have ever heard. Let me know what you think of it.

I would love to hear about your love story. Share it with me in the comments or send me an email tysontcooper@gmail.com.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Study Finds Trust Influences Perception of the Past

"I trust you."
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What does trust do for a relationship? Well, according to research recently published at Northwestern University trust skews the perception we have of our relationship. Individuals in relationships where trust is strong remember the past with a sort of "rose-colored glasses" remembering things more positively than they may have actually been. Where trust is not present often the couple remembers things worse than they actually were and things that may not have even happened.

In conclusion, trust is important in our marriages. Go figure?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Seesaw's and Teeter-Totter's

Here's a cool little video I found on www.simplemarriage.net. At the end of it Cami said "I just learned that we're not supposed to work-out." I love her!


Friday, March 1, 2013

Secrets to 67 Years of Marriage

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Check out this article: Long-married couple share insights. Pretty cool that this couple has been together for 67 years!  Here's what I distilled from their comments that are the "secrets" to their marital success:
  • Make life simpler
  • Create memories together
  • Make sure you have a little bit of time for yourself
There you have it, 67 years of wisdom. Go try it!

Money can't buy happiness...no kidding

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I read an article recently about money and relationships and which make you happy. Research shows that relationships are much more important to our happiness than money, fame, or power. Of course I agree, however, sometimes I wonder who funds these studies. At least now there is statistical evidence of what we already fundamentally know, right?
Here's the link to the article. I would love to know what you think about it.
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