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~Marriage in Islam~
E x t r a R e a d i n g M a t e r i a l

Bismillaahi Ar-Rahmani Ar-Raheem

These articles are a compilation of both Islamic and non Islamic sources.

Abu Hurayrah said, The Messenger of Allaa said:
"The word of wisdom is the lost property of the believer, so wherever he finds it he
has a better right to it." (39:19.)

These articles have been compiled for the benefit of our students as supplementary
reading to the knowledge given in the Fiqh of Love seminar. We pray this will be of
benefit to you and be the source of guidance to lead a successful marriage.


Why We Flirt
Questions to Consider
How to Date Your Wife
21 Keys to Magnetic Likability
5 Things She Likes to Hear
The Perfect Figure
TEA Triple A
Things to Consider Before Getting Married
Relationship Red Flags


Feeling Emotionally Disconnected
The Male Brain vs Female Brain
Six Steps Peace Plan
How to Let go of Grudges and Bitterness
25 Facts of Body Language to Avoid
Changing roles and happiness

Birth Control

Abortion in Islam
Birth Control Pills 101
History of Birth Control Pills


Smell Sexy
Sex and Love
Female Sexual Dysfunction
Bacterial Vaginosis


Advice to Husbands and Wives
Balancing Work and Home
Domestic Violence
The Hard Hitting Truth
Why Marriage is Good for Both Men and Women
How a New Baby Tests a Marriage
Divorce Proof Rhyme


Why We Flirt
By Belinda Luscombe
Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008

Contrary to widespread belief, only two very specific types of people flirt: those who
are single and those who are married. Single people flirt because, well, they're single
and therefore nobody is really contractually obliged to talk to them, sleep with them
or scratch that difficult-to-reach part of the back. But married people, they're a
tougher puzzle. They've found themselves a suitable--maybe even superior--mate,
had a bit of productive fun with the old gametes and ensured that at least some of
their genes are carried into the next generation. They've done their duty,
evolutionarily speaking. Their genome will survive. Yay them. So for Pete's sake,
why do they persist with the game?
And before you claim, whether single or married, that you never flirt, bear in mind
that it's not just talk we're dealing with here. It's gestures, stance, eye movement.
Notice how you lean forward to the person you're talking to and tip up your heels?
Notice the quick little eyebrow raise you make, the sidelong glance coupled with the
weak smile you give, the slightly sustained gaze you offer? If you're a woman, do you
feel your head tilting to the side a bit, exposing either your soft, sensuous neck or,
looking at it another way, your jugular? If you're a guy, are you keeping your body in
an open, come-on-attack-me position, arms positioned to draw the eye to your
impressive lower abdomen?
Scientists call all these little acts "contact-readiness" cues, because they indicate,
nonverbally, that you're prepared for physical engagement. (More general body
language is known as "nonverbal leakage." Deep in their souls, all scientists are
poets.) These cues are a crucial part of what's known in human-ethology circles as
the "heterosexual relationship initiation process" and elsewhere, often on the
selfsame college campuses, as "coming on to someone." In primal terms, they're
physical signals that you don't intend to dominate, nor do you intend to flee--both
useful messages potential mates need to send before they can proceed to that
awkward talking phase. They're the opening line, so to speak, for the opening line.
One of the reasons we flirt in this way is that we can't help it. We're programmed to
do it, whether by biology or culture. The biology part has been investigated by any
number of researchers. Ethologist Irenaus Eibl Eibesfeldt, then of the Max Planck
Institute in Germany, filmed African tribes in the 1960s and found that the women
there did the exact same prolonged stare followed by a head tilt away with a little
smile that he saw in America. (The technical name for the head movement is a
"cant." Except in this case it's more like "can.")
Evolutionary biologists would suggest that those individuals who executed flirting
maneuvers most adeptly were more successful in swiftly finding a mate and
reproducing and that the behavior therefore became widespread in all humans. "A
lot of people feel flirting is part of the universal language of how we communicate,
especially nonverbally," says Jeffry Simpson, director of the social psychology
program at the University of Minnesota.
Simpson is currently studying the roles that attraction and flirting play during
different times of a woman's ovulation cycle. His research suggests that women who
are ovulating are more attracted to flirty men. "The guys they find appealing tend to
have characteristics that are attractive in the short term, which include some
flirtatious behaviors," he says. He's not sure why women behave this way, but it
follows that men who bed ovulating women have a greater chance of procreating
and passing on those flirty genes, which means those babies will have more babies,
and so on. Of course, none of this is a conscious choice, just as flirting is not always
intentional. "With a lot of it, especially the nonverbal stuff, people may not be fully
aware that they're doing it," says Simpson. "You don't see what you look like. People
may emit flirtatious cues and not be fully aware of how powerful they are."
Flirting with Intent
Well, some people anyway. But then there are the rest of you. You know who you
are. You're the gentleman who delivered my groceries the other day and said we
had a problem because I had to be 21 to receive alcohol. You're me when I told that
same man that I liked a guy who knew his way around a dolly. (Lame, I know. I was
caught off guard.) You're the fifty something guy behind me on the plane before
Christmas telling his forty something seatmate how sensual her eyes were--actually,
I hope you're not. My point is, once you move into the verbal phase of flirtation, it's
pretty much all intentional.
And there are some schools of thought that teach there's nothing wrong with that.
Flirtation is a game we play, a dance for which everyone knows the moves. "People
can flirt outrageously without intending anything," says independent sex researcher
Timothy Perper, who has been researching flirting for 30 years. "Flirting captures
the interest of the other person and says 'Would you like to play?'" And one of the
most exhilarating things about the game is that the normal rules of social interaction
are rubberized. Clarity is not the point. "Flirting opens a window of potential. Not
yes, not no," says Perper. "So we engage ourselves in this complex game of maybe."
The game is not new. The first published guide for how to flirt was written about
2,000 years ago, Perper points out, by a bloke named Ovid. As dating books go, The
Art of Love leaves more recent publications like The Layguide: How to Seduce
Women More Beautiful Than You Ever Dreamed Possible No Matter What You Look
Like or How Much You Make in its dust. And yes, that's a real book.
Once we've learned the game of maybe, it becomes second nature to us. Long after
we need to play it, we're still in there swinging (so to speak) because we're better at
it than at other games. Flirting sometimes becomes a social fallback position. "We all
learn rules for how to behave in certain situations, and this makes it easier for
people to know how to act, even when nervous," says Antonia Abbey, a psychology
professor at Wayne State University. Just as we learn a kind of script for how to
behave in a restaurant or at a business meeting, she suggests, we learn a script for
talking to the opposite sex. "We often enact these scripts without even thinking," she
says. "For some women and men, the script may be so well learned that flirting is a
comfortable strategy for interacting with others." In other words, when in doubt, we
The thing that propels many already committed people to ply the art of woo,
however, is often not doubt. It's curiosity. Flirting "is a way of testing one's mate-
value and the possibility of alternatives--actually trying to see if someone might be
available as an alternative," says Arthur Aron, professor of psychology at the State
University of New York at Stony Brook. To evolutionary biologists, the advantages of
this are clear: mates die, offspring die. Flirting is a little like taking out mating
If worst comes to worst and you don't still have it (and yes, I'm sure you do), the
very act of flirting with someone else may bring about renewed attention from your
mate, which has advantages all its own. So it's a win-win.
Flirting is also emotional capital to be expended in return for something else. Not
usually for money, but for the intangibles--a better table, a juicier cut of meat, the
ability to return an unwanted purchase without too many questions. It's a handy
social lubricant, reducing the friction of everyday transactions, and closer to a
strategically timed tip than a romantic overture. Have you ever met a male
hairdresser who wasn't a flirt? Women go to him to look better. So the better they
feel when they walk out of his salon, the happier they'll be to go back for a frequent
blowout. Flirting's almost mandatory

It's Dangerous Out There
But outside the hairdresser's chair, things are not so simple. Flirt the wrong way
with the wrong person, and you run the risk of everything from a slap to a sexual-
harassment lawsuit. And of course, the American virtue of plain spokenness is not
an asset in an activity that is ambiguous by design. Wayne State's Abbey, whose
research has focused on the dark side of flirting--when it transmogrifies into
harassment, stalking or acquaintance rape--warns that flirting can be treacherous.
"Most of the time flirtation desists when one partner doesn't respond positively,"
she says. "But some people just don't get the message that is being sent, and some
ignore it because it isn't what they want to hear."

One of the most fascinating flirting laboratories is the digital world. Here's a venue
that is all words and no body language; whether online or in text messages, nuance
is almost impossible. And since text and e-mail flirting can be done without having
to look people in the eye, and is often done with speed, it is bolder, racier and
unimpeded by moments of reflection on whether the message could be
misconstrued or is wise to send at all. "Flirt texting is a topic everyone finds
fascinating, although not much research is out there yet," says Abbey. But one thing
is clear: "People are often more willing to disclose intimate details via the Internet,
so the process may escalate more quickly."

That's certainly the case on sites like Yahoo!'s Married and Flirting e-mail group, as
well as on and "Flirting" in this
sense appears to be a euphemism for talking dirty. A University of Florida study of
86 participants in a chat room published in Psychology Today in 2003 found that
while nearly all those surveyed felt they were initially simply flirting with a
computer, not a real person, almost a third of them eventually had a face-to-face
meeting with someone they chatted with. And all but two of the couples who met
went on to have an affair. Whether the people who eventually cheated went to the
site with the intention of doing so or got drawn in by the fantasy of it all is unclear.
Whichever, the sites sure seem like a profitable place for people like the guy behind
me on the pre-Christmas flight to hang out.

Most people who flirt--off-line at least--are not looking for an affair. But one of the
things that sets married flirting apart from single flirting is that it has a much
greater degree of danger and fantasy to it. The stakes are higher and the risk is
greater, even if the likelihood of anything happening is slim. But the cocktail is in
some cases much headier. It is most commonly the case with affairs, therapists say,
that people who cheat are not so much dissatisfied with their spouse as with
themselves and the way their lives have turned out. There is little that feels more
affirming and revitalizing than having someone fall in love with you. (It follows,
then, that there's little that feels less affirming than being cheated on.) Flirting is a
decaf affair, a way of feeling more alive, more vital, more desirable without actually
endangering the happiness of anyone you love--or the balance of your bank account.
So go ahead and flirt, if you can do it responsibly. You might even try it with your

With reporting by Reported by Kate Stinchfield
Find this article at:,9171,1704684,00.html

Questions to Consider

Bismillah walhamdolillah.

Allah Created. And among His unique qualities is that He Creates without precedent.

Before Allah Decreed it, there had never been a "pair" of anything. And when He
Created man and his wife, what He made could never have been imagined by any of
His Creations. And what He Created was something wonderful, walhamdolillah.
Allah has described the husband and wife as garments for each other, and part of
that is beautification for each other.

Think about that -- if you are unmarried your pair is incomplete.

And He has decreed that man and woman each has free choice. So how will you
choose to complete the pair?

When you shop for your spouse, what will you look for, who will you ask, and what
questions or discussions will follow? Length? Width? Color? Perhaps.

The Sunnah in Islam is to find out the information that will cause you to know
whether to propose to someone or accept that person's proposal. And when you
have what you need to know, then you should proceed with the proposal or else

This differentiates Islamic practice from other courtship rules in as much as other
rules would permit courting as entertainment, ie, dating.

If you want to take your spouse on a date, bismillah. If you want to go on a date with
someone to whom you are not married, beware the evil into which shaytan would
lead you.

The same discretion should enter your questions and conversations before
marriage. It is perfectly reasonable to have conversations whose only purpose is to
establish that you two can have an easygoing and light conversation.

Yet too many open-ended conversations might lead to affections developing, and at
that point many commentators have pointed out that people's brains switch off: at
that point they see only good in the other person. One writer even said that the
person in love is as unreasonable as a drunk person.

Indeed Allah does not hold us accountable for our feelings: just as the pen is lifted
for the intoxicated person -- but the person who is intoxicated now may find
tremendous punishment for his actions while he was sober: when he had the aql to
avoid drink. And in the same way, Allah may hold us to account for indiscretions
committed before we fell (intoxicated) in love -- blameworthy actions that led us to
a state of love, actions committed when we still had the aql to avoid them.

Indeed when the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam found out from Jaabir that
Jaabir had selected a woman to marry, the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam did
not first ask Jaabir if she were a pious woman. He asked if Jaabir had seen her,
looked upon her. And he advised doing so until Jaabir saw what would cause him to
marry. Implying that it would have been possible he might not see it, and thus
might not marry. And Allah's Decree was that he saw, and they did marry,

So we know looking is allowed and that implies that other investigation is, too,
because when you observe a person you do not see them posed or on a runway,
naudhobillah, like clothes in the store. You see them in life, and you observe their
interactions so inquiries into those are like what you would see, permissible at least
as to what could be seen.

With so many warnings in mind, you may imagine that the only conversations and
questions should be about deen: "How many verses have you memorized and of
how many of them have you studied the tafseer?" "What are your favorite adhkaar -
- in salaat -- before the basmallah?" "Do you read Muslim more often, or Bukhari?"

Those questions are... odd. Let's face it -- if you are starting out with conversations
like those... Who are you marrying? Your shaykh?

So which questions then should come first? Indeed, Imam Ahmed, RahimAllah,
advised that questions about deen should be the very last ones a person asks. Why?
For a beautiful reason: good deen beautifies a person and it is better to reject a
physically beautiful woman for her ugly deen, than to reject a woman whose deen is
beautiful to you for any other reason.

This principle is so strong that it may help explain why the Prophet sull Allaho
alayhi wa sallam re-married the daughter of Omar, Umm al Mumineen Hafsa, radi
Allaho anhumaa. Jibreel alayhis salam conversed with the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi
wa sallam about her taqwa and ibadat after their initial divorce, and it was some
time after that conversation that they remarried, alhamdolillah.

Interestingly, from the sunnah, there is also the case of Umm Salamah, also Umm al
Mumineen, walhamdolillah. She was widowed and had children from her marriage.
And after her iddah the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam came to her to propose
marriage. And clearly no one had more beautiful deen than him, sull Allaho alayhi
wa sallam.

And yet, knowing that, she was prepared to reject him -- not for his qualities,
subhanAllah, but for her own qualities that needed reconciliation. Her children --
that they should have a father who loves them. Her age -- that she avoid a situation
whereby her husband find her at all lacking. And her jealousy of other women --
including the other wives of the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam.

And mashaAllah, this case shows us one of the keys to a successful courtship --
indeed a successful courtship by the way, is one that ends in a marriage that pleases
Allah. The nikah is just one moment, the exchange of a few words. And what
follows the nikah is much more than just one night.

Keep that in mind: the success was more likely to come in marriage because the
qualities the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam showed in his responses to her
were qualities of a successful husband. Her children he promised would be just like
his own to him. As for age he compared theirs as reassurance to her. And he prayed
to Allah for an easing of her jealousy, walhamdolillah.

Three beautiful qualities (at least) are easy to see in the responses: accommodation,
empathy, dua/taqwa/tawakkol. Okay i squeezed three qualities in there for the last
example, but alhamdolillah alaa kulli haal, it is difficult to pick only a few traits from
his example.

We know that Umm Salamah was a perceptive and intelligent woman -- witness her
advice to the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam at Hudaybiyyah. Thus she must
have seen in his answers what she needed to know to accept his proposal,
alhamdolillah. And indeed it was a successful marriage.

Before embarking on advice about specific questions or conversations you could
have when looking for your wife or husband, reflect again on the example of Umm
Salamah's proposal and what followed: how could she have asked such good
questions? She was aware of her own needs. And she knew the difference between
her needs, and her wishes.

A Messenger of Allah for a husband? A wish. Her questions reflect that she knew,
too, her needs. And you should, too, before you propose or respond to a proposal,

Otherwise, if you merely read to each other from a list of questions or conversation-
topics -- at best you are throwing darts in the dark wondering if you will hit
something that yells out in surprise. And at worst you are ignoring the concerns
that should be addressed.

Specific topics and questions to consider -- an outline to build on:

1. Air and Water
1. What are the roles of a husband?
2. What are the roles of a wife?
3. This is a separate category because no other topic was so identified in
research by Muslims and non-Muslims as a cause of divorce. Huh?
Divorce? Yes, couples that have completely different ideas about
these roles, and lacked the ability to concede or compromise -- they
often end their marriages.
4. "Air and Water" are essential for life, but we hardly ever have to talk
about them. You might have additional topics that are "air and
water" for you, but these two are different: they will affect everything
else. If you are honest with each other now about your expectations,
and if you can both breathe easily (accommodate each other), then
later on, bi'idhnillah, you will only talk about these roles when you
need to clear the air or get through murky waters. You can start the
conversation in the abstract, "what is the role of a husband" and "a"
wife, but you're talking about each other.
2. Bread and Butter
1. Finances including expectations of income and spending, who will
work, what kind of work/income you would seek or refuse.
2. Kids including how many and when, and how to raise them.
3. Parents (ie., your kids grandparents, bi'idhnillah), other family,
friends, socializing.
4. Living arrangements including with or without parents and
city/neighborhood and expectations of how big and how much.
5. Unlike "air and water" you can have as many bread and butter topics
as you want. All of these things are important, and they may become
the subject of arguments in a marriage if you do not discuss your
expectations before marriage. But one thing that makes this category
different from the others is that all the items are material or external
in some fashion. Numbers, sizes, other people, stuff: how much of it
do you want, by when, where, and does it even matter to you --
assuming the other person has the same answers as you would be a
3. Veiled Gems
1. If you pay close attention to the discussions you and your potential
spouse have during bread and butter topics, you will not only
address each other's expectations, bi 'idhnillah, but also learn a lot
about each other's character.
2. For the same reason have conversations about goals and
accomplishments, past and future -- find out how each of you defines
an accomplishment. See how much your goals, expectations, and
priorities match with each other.
3. Have conversations about people in need -- to find out whether the
person cares about others or is more self-interested. Also to find out
whether the person really listens to you, or is just waiting for his/her
turn to speak. Finally, remember that marriage will have challenges,
too, and these conversations will help you figure out whether you are
talking to someone that you can rely on if times are tough. Or
naudhobillah, someone who would run at the first sign of trouble.
4. Note: see "poison pills." When it comes to any conversation, but
especially for a veiled gem, you are not digging for faults, but
searching for genuine understanding. Allah is ar Rahman nir Raheem
-- you can be forgiving and merciful to each other without being
judgmental, while thinking seriously about your compatibility.
4. Poison Pills
1. Anything at all about which you yourself do not care while you speak.
Even a noble subject, if you talk about it when you do not care what
you or the other person are saying could become ghafla. There is
also the disastrous possibility that the other person will see you do
not care about the conversation and believe you do not care about
them -- (perhaps) mistaking your attitude.
2. Immodest conversations in general. Imagine the two of you were
sitting in a room with the woman's father, and the man's mother. if
you think the topic would cause the mother to look away or the
father to pull out a sword, then you're probably thinking of a topic
that should not be discussed. Maybe the problem is only that
immodest words are being used to discuss a topic that is permissible
for you -- so exercise good judgment.
5. What happened to deen? Fasabrun jameelun.
1. The Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam praised the quality of deen in
a future spouse above wealth, beauty, family, and nobility.
2. Yet, you should realize that finding a religious person is not enough.
You should have other things in common before marriage. Do look
for a religious spouse, and choose one who is more compatible with
3. And word of wisdom from past TDCs spoken by multiple shuyukh and
advocates: when you search for a religious spouse, ask yourself if she
would be happy with your religiosity, too! As Shaykh Yaser puts it,
"Would you marry you?" -- in this context would you be satisfied with
a spouse who was only as religious as you?

Specific sources used in developing this handout: Fiqh of Love and
(with Shaykh Yaser Birjas), 10 Conversations You Must Have Before Marriage, 1001
Questions, Article posted in the Al Maghrib forums -- Rabbi Mordecai Rottman, MA,
"Four things to look for in a spouse."

Tariq Nisar Ahmed

How to Date Your Wife

How to Date/Court Your Wife - Tips for Married Men
By Danny Davids (at
Im a guy (like, duh!). Im not sure why, but I think theres some genetic code buried
deep in the Y chromosome that requires men to stick up for and defend each
other. Its a were-all-in-this-together, us-versus-them, almost primal instinct to
back up the other guy, even when you know hes lying through his teeth and youre
going to be in more trouble than he is when the facts finally come out. We cant help
it. Thats just the way we are. So, like my genetically-challenged brethren, Ill
support a guy in most cases.
But lately, Im finding myself more and more embarrassed by the attitude men are
taking when it comes to marriage. Some of the most idiotic, asinine comments Ive
ever heard are coming out of mens mouths concerning this relationship. What
makes it particularly uncomfortable for me is that these attitudes arent expressed
by only the younger generation. Men in my peer group are voicing these same
opinions. Its no wonder many in the United States feel that the institution of
marriage is threatened when people believe some of the viewpoints Ive heard
Gentlemen, Im going to have to fight that genetic inclination this time. Im defending
the ladies and taking you to task. Some attitudes need to change, and you need to do
the changing.

Its Not a Conquest
First, lets get one thing straight. YES, VIRGINIA, THERE ARE DIFFERENCES
BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN. That will irritate some of the unisex proponents, but
its the truth. The differences run the gamut, from biological to psychological to
emotional. Men and women accomplish tasks differently, view the world differently,
respond to stimuli differently. Scientific studies bear this out over and over
again. Its a fact of life. Deal with it.
Men have a tendency to deal with life in a task-oriented way. We complete a project,
check it off our list, and go on to the next item. Whether its changing a tire, playing a
game of football, advancing a career, or getting a mate, its all about the end result. A
goal is achieved weve won! Now its time to take on the next challenge!
Women dont work that way. Women are much more relation-oriented in their
approach to life. While accomplishing the objective is important, maintaining the
connections between people during the process is just as vital. Even after the goal
has been achieved, the relationships continue on in many cases.
This is where I think guys have a problem when it comes to marriage (Im purposely
leaving out cohabitation because I feel theres a lack of commitment involved). Men
view the wedding (or perhaps the honeymoon!) as the end result of the process
(finding the right girl, dating the right girl, proposing, getting married). Now that
theyve got the girl", they can move on to something else. And many do,
concentrating on their careers, their finances, their social status. They stop doing all
the things they did while they were trying to win over the woman they love. After all
(and yes, Ive actually heard this said), Shes mine now, so what else do I have to
The problem is, while men are patting themselves on the back and saying I got it!"
women are most likely asking themselves What did I get?" This isnt a task to them
- its a relationship. And relationships continue on even after other aspirations have
been reached. Many a blushing bride finds that it doesnt take long to move from
newlywed to old lady". If youve been around women at all, Im about to tell you
something you probably already know: They do NOT like being ignored.
Guys, think about it. What if you did this with your job? You work hard to learn
about a company before you ever apply for a position. You network with friends and
business associates to try to get an in" to somebody higher-up in the
organization. You come in for the interview dressed to the nines, and impress the
interviewer with your knowledge of the company in general and your desired
position in particular. You play up all the successes youve had with previous
employers and turn your weaknesses into strengths. You get the job offer andyou
come into work every day in boxers and a t-shirt, sit at your desk all day long
snacking, playing games and surfing the Internet, and doing nothing more than
collecting your paycheck. Do you think youd be employed long by that company? At
the very least, your relationship with your employer would be, shall we say,
strained. What makes a man think he can do the same thing to his wife and not
expect difficulties in the marriage?
Getting the Goods"
I think what men need to do is take a nice leisurely journey down Memory
Lane.(Ladies, feel free to subtly encourage this little trip.) Think back to what you
did when you were dating your spouse. What were the tasks you performed to get
the end result? (Dont be offended, ladies. Im speaking Man-ese here.) If youve
forgotten, maybe giving you this list will help jump-start your memory.
Good Hygiene There is no way your future wife answered her door to see you
with unwashed hair, unshaven face, unbrushed teeth, and un-deodorized body
parts. You wanted to make a good impression and be as presentable (and
acceptable) as possible. Everybody wants to take a day off now and then and not
have to go through the routine, but get serious, man. Youre living with a human
being, not Shrek! Clean yourself up - daily.
Good Fashion Im guessing you made sure you wore freshly-laundered clothing
when you picked up your date. While its not necessary to wear a suit and tie at
home all the time, parading around exclusively in the boxers and t-shirt mentioned
above doesnt exactly help you present your best side.
Good Manners Youd have exploded before letting your girlfriend know you were
having a problem with excessive flatulence. Now you dont even bother to stifle your
belches and you scratch yourself in public. Remember opening the car door for her,
pulling out her chair at a restaurant, letting her enter/exit a building first, saying
Please" and Thank you"? Doing those things shows her you care about her (you
may not view it that way, but frankly your view doesnt count right now).
Good Times Every time you got together with your sweetheart it was the same
thing. Go over to her place. Sit in front of the TV. Watch sports until your eyes bleed.
Kiss her good night. Go home. Repeat next time. If you did, and she still accepted
your proposal, then dont change a thing. Otherwise, hire a sitter if you need to and
take your wife out on a real date. It doesnt have to be expensive. Shed appreciate a
meal at a modest restaurant where you can sit and talk together about something
more meaningful than what those jerks at work did to you today. Go for a walk in a
favorite park. Visit the mall (yeah, I know) and window shop. Dont be afraid to be
as romantic as you were on the night you proposed. Be daring. Be silly. Be there for
her. Make a memory for both of you.
It Takes 21 Days
If you find you need to change some of your habits, dont think its impossible.
Statistics show that most of us can convert a bad habit into a good one in 21 days. If
you have too many habits to change all at once, then take them one at a time. Make
one change. Make it stick. Then add another. Believe me, even making one change
will make your wife sit up and take notice, and shell be looking for others. And
youll notice an interesting side effect as well: When you start changing to
accommodate her, she will likely also make changes in her life to reciprocate. She
wins, you win, the relationship wins.
The Bottom Line
I can hear it now. Somebodys got the perfect line to explain his change in lifestyle. I
dont have the time for all that now." Im too busy." We have kids now." She
doesnt know what I have to deal with every day." And the granddaddy of them all,
Well, shes changed, too, yknow!" Im not surprised. We all change. But you cant
change anybody elses behavior but your own. Face it, gentlemen: You have no
excuse. You wouldnt have hit your date with any of those explanations before you
were married. Why do you consider them acceptable now? My recommendation is
to give up on the excuses and get busy on the goods" now. Otherwise, your wife
may end up dropping a line or two on you, like Have your lawyer call my lawyer!"

Recreate the first few days of your relationship (from, Woo Your
Wife All Over Again)
Its not about a simple anniversary. Its not about one day in the early phases of your
dating. Its about reliving those wonderful sensations both of you experienced
during the first few encounters. Granted, it wont be easy, but that doesnt mean the
attempt wont have the desired effect. Once you embark on re-experiencing -- not
reenacting -- those first feelings of interest and attraction, you will be surprised at
how rejuvenating those emotions can be. Its those feelings that should be the focal
point of the experiment; your goal is to refresh the current status of your

You can set up a faux blind date. Arrange to meet each other at a location neither of
you have visited in the past and seek to experience a second first date. You can even
introduce yourselves all over again, attempt new topics of conversation, and in
general, proceed as if youre seeing each other for the very first time. Again, the
attempt alone should provide the necessary spark.

Do physical activities together and get the heck out of town

Talk and listen
It may sound generic and even arbitrary, but it truly isnt. You may have noticed that
you dont talk to each other as much as you used to; when you first began dating,
youd chat into the wee hours of the morning. Now, not so much. You could be
immensely surprised at just how responsive your wife will be -- in more than one
way -- if you simply ask her about her day and touch her gently on the shoulder. The
little things tend to be forgotten as a relationship wears on, and the dinner
discussion might eventually become borderline obligatory. This is exactly the kind
of thing youre countering with this tip; make yourself available when she really
needs to be heard. Its not arbitrary, its essential, and it really is this simple.
Show her you appreciate her
She does a lot of things for the family, and if theres one burden women often
shoulder, its that of being taken for granted. When she does even the smallest thing
to help -- something as simple as doing the laundry -- make a point of tossing up a
meaningful thank you. You can even try a dozen roses with a card that doesnt say
I love you, but I appreciate you. She might need a day entirely to herself during
which she isnt burdened by anything on the home front; you could spring for a day
at the spa or a package deal at the salon. The point is that shes been doing so much
for you, and now its time for you to do something specifically for her.
Be playful and let her know she's irresistible
One of the most entertaining and revealing things a couple can do is play games, and
Im not talking about Monopoly. Leave sexy notes around the house, act playful and
coy, and watch her react with giggles and warmth. You have to keep her on her toes,
regardless of how long you have been together, and doing things like this will keep
you in her mind. Shell also feel wanted, which isnt just a bonus, its an absolute

In addition to feeling shes being taken for granted, she may also feel like shes not as
attractive as she once was. Shes still that breathtaking, gorgeous seductress that
rocked the bed on your honeymoon, and you know she hasnt lost a beat. The
important thing is for her to know this. If you think that shes starting to feel a bit
insecure, its time to make her feel like a sexy woman all over again.

Vitamin A:
Women need: Attention, Affection, Appreciation (and Acceptance)

21 Keys to Magnetic Likeability

Your true potential is enhanced by the sum of all the people who like you, and thus
would go out of their way to assist you in a time of need. Unfortunately, there is
no quick-fix guide for becoming extremely likeable. Likeability is tied deeply into
some of your most stubborn, long-standing habits and behaviors. As with
conquering any major personal change, it takes time and practice.
Heres what you should practice:
Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight.
Extend them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster. Your life will
never be the same again.
- Og Mandino

Be Attentive to Others and Never Stop Listening Self-centered people are
usually unlikable. When youre involved in a conversation, its important to focus
more on the other person and less on yourself. If you genuinely concern yourself
with others and listen to them closely, youll make scores of friends with little effort.
Remember, everybody loves a good listener.

Compliment People Who Deserve It Go out of your way to personally
acknowledge and complement the people who have gone out of their way to shine.
Everybody likes to hear that their efforts are appreciated.

Make Yourself Available and Approachable If people cannot get a hold of you,
or have trouble approaching you, they will forget about you. Your
general availability and accessibility to others is extremely important to them.
Always maintain a positive, tolerant attitude and keep an open line of
communication to those around you.

Speak Clearly so People Can Understand You Most people have a very low
tolerance for dealing with people they cant understand. Mystery does not fuel
strong relationships and likeability.

Never Try to Be Someone Youre Not All people have the subconscious ability
to detect lying. Even academy award winning actors slip up every now and then.
Fake people are not likeable. Ask yourself this: If you dont like who you really are,
why should I like you?

Address People by Their Name People love the sight and sound of their own
name, so make sure you learn to remember names. Use them respectfully in both
oral and written communication.

Mirror the Person Youre Conversing With You can mirror someone by
imitating their body language, gestures, movements and facial expressions during a
one on one conversation. The other people will unconsciously pickup on the
familiarity of your mirrored actions, which will provide them with an added sense of
comfort as they speak with you. The more comfortable you make them feel, the
more they will enjoy being around you.

Always Ask to Help and Help When Asked Everyone appreciates the gift of
free assistance and those who supply it. Highly likeable people always spare time
for others, regardless of how busy their own schedules are. Remember, helping
people get what they want is the #1 key to getting what you want.

Never Get Caught Lying Everybody stretches the truth at times, but everyone
hates a liar. Ironic, isnt it? Regardless, understand that your credibility and
likeability will get crushed if you are caught telling a lie.

Say Please and Thank You These 2 simple phrases make demands sound like
requests and inject a friendly tone into serious conversations. It can mean the
difference between sounding rude and sounding genuinely grateful.

Use Positive Language (Body and Verbal) You can use positive language skills
to exhibit yourself as a helpful, constructive person rather than a destructive,
disinterested one. Positive body language involves the act of maintaining eye
contact while speaking, using hand gestures to accentuate important points, leaning
in closer while someone else is speaking, smiling, and mirroring the person youre
involved in a conversation with. Positive verbal language concentrates on what can
be done, suggests helpful choices and alternatives, and sounds accommodating and
encouraging rather than one-dimensionally bureaucratic.

Smile Everyone likes the sight of a genuine smile. Think about how you feel when
a complete stranger looks into your eyes and smiles. Suddenly she doesnt seem like
a stranger anymore, does she? Instead she seems warm and friendly, someone you
wouldnt mind being around for a little while longer.

Keep Unqualified Opinions to Yourself If you dont have all the facts, or youre
uneducated on the topic of discussion, its in your best interest to spend your time
listening. Unqualified opinions just make a person sound foolishly arrogant.

Provide Tangible Value Dont just follow in the footsteps of everyone else.
Figure out which pieces of the puzzle are missing and put them in place. When you
add tangible value, you increase your own value in the eyes of others.

Respect Elders, Respect Minors, Respect Everyone There are no boundaries or
classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected. Treat everyone
with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same
level of patience you would have with your baby brother. People will notice your

Make Frequent Eye Contact but Dont Stare Theres little doubt that eye
contact is one of the most captivating forms of personal communication. When
executed properly, eye contact injects closeness into human interaction, which leads
to likeability. The key is to make frequent eye contact without gawking. If you fail
to make eye contact you will be seen as insincere and untrustworthy. Likewise, an
overbearing stare can make you appear arrogant and egotistical.

Dont Over-Promise Instead, Over-Deliver Some people habitually make
promises they are just barely able to fulfill. They promise perfection and deliver
mediocrity. Sure, they do deliver something. But its not inline with the original
expectations, so all it does is drive negative press. If you want people to like you,
forget about making promises and simply over-deliver on everything you do.

Stand Up for Your Beliefs Without Promoting Them Yes, it is possible to stand
up for your beliefs without foisting them down someone elses throat. Discuss your
personal beliefs when someone asks about them, but dont spawn offensive attacks
of propaganda on unsuspecting victims. Stand firm by your values and always keep
an open mind to new information.

Make a Firm Handshake There is a considerable correlation between the
characteristics of a firm handshake (strength, duration, eye contact, etc.) and a
positive first impression.

Keep Your Hands Away from Your Face Putting your hands on your face during
a conversation tells the other person that youre either bored, negatively judging
them, or trying to hide something.

Dress Clean Clothes and manners do not make the man; but, when he is made,
they greatly improve his appearance. Henry Ward said that, and he knew exactly
what he was talking about. People will always judge a book by its cover. While a
stylish dress code is not absolutely necessary, it can drastically alter another
persons perception of you.

5 things shed love to hear...

You look amazing.
Acknowledge (and appreciate) that she primped for you. Trust us, even if this is a
simple latte liaison, a degree of decision-making went into that jeans-tee-ponytail
combo shes got going on. No need to be too specific; just let her know youve
noticed that she looks good.

How was your day?
This may seem innocuous, but it shows you care and are interested in her life. Make
sure to really listen to the response, rather than glaze over when she itemizes
details of a petty spat with a co-worker. Bonus: Itll give you something to follow up
on in a later conversation (e.g., Did you patch things up with that crazy woman in

Im really having a great time with you.
Probably the best thing you can say mid-date! It takes the edge off, lets her know she
can relax. Youll also get feedback on how shes feeling. Hopefully shell beam back
and say Me too! as opposed to a sniffed How nice.

What do you think about such-and-such topic?
Guys, youre great at telling us what you think, but you can be a bit stingy about
seeking out our opinion. Ask your wife for her view and shell be flatteredand
stimulating discourse is bound to ensue. Naturally, steer clear of obscure subjects
she may not be up on or comfortable discussing, and only bring up hot-button issues
like politics if youre prepared for a potential serious debate.

Id love to see you again.
This is a great way to end a date. It assures that you like her and may prevent that
awful waiting-by-the-phone thing women tend to do. Trust us, shell appreciate it.

...And 5 things shed hate to hear...

Youve really got a great body. Do you work out or something?
Dude, please. This is way too objectifying and will make her uncomfortable. Avoid
mention of any particular body part or anything lingerie-related.

Oh, I know all about that!
If youre commiserating, finebut if youre about to start pontificating, resist!
Women like intelligent, informed, worldly men, but we also appreciate humility.
When you put on your superior face, youre so not sexy. If she wanted a know-it-
all, shed spend her evening with Wikipedia.

So Ive been shopping for a new BMW
Such a transparent attempt to impress her will have the reverse effectunless you
hear cha-chiiing and dollar signs appear in her eyes. So bag those Im a big man
comments about your stuff, your status and your salary.

Ill call you.
OK, this is what she wants to hear, but so many men say it and dont follow through.
So if you have any doubt about calling her, do not utter those three little words.
Instead, wish her luck on the big presentation she mentioned, say thank you and

Nina Malkin is the author of An Unlikely Cat Lady: Feral Adventures in the Backyard

Read the other side of the story, 5 things guys love to hear, here.

5 things guys love to hear
By Robert W. Harris Dont get me wrong: In general, men are in awe of womens
date-night conversation skills, which, hands down, are far superior to their own.
Even so, though, you gals do still insert your stilettod foot in your mouth every once
in awhileor, conversely, miss prime opportunities to make a remark that would
raise your stock in our eyes. Curious whether youve got the right choice phrases in
your back pocket and whether youre avoiding the bad ones? Check out this list of
things guys love (and hate) to hear on a date for the lowdown.

5 things men love to hear on a date...

Then what happened?
Its human: A man likes to think that his life is reasonably interesting. And while
interrupting him, changing the subject, or acting bored are well-known nails in the
coffin, its not enough to just sit there, smile, and say, Uh-huh every few seconds.
Actively egg him on with comments like, Youre kidding! What happened next? or
Go on... That way, hell know youre genuinely interested versus just being polite.

Thats pretty impressive.
Maybe he placed in a local triathlon. Or got a promotion at work. Or figured out how
to fix his air conditioner. Whatever hes done, if hes mentioning it on a date, hes
most likely proud of itand if you feed his ego by applauding his efforts, youll
make him feel like a king.

Thank you.
No doubt about it, manners matterand are sorely lacking in todays less formal
dating scene. Tap into your inner Emily Post, and its sure to make you stand out. So,
thank him when he tells you that you look pretty tonight. Thank him for paying for
dinner. Thank him for walking you to your car. Its so small a thing, but itll make a
huge difference to him.

What do you do when youre not at work?
Although a guys work might be of primary importance, he also has other things in
his life that he values. Does he juggle? Work on his car? Play an instrument? With a
little probing, a woman can hit upon hidden passionsand convey that shes
interested in getting a complete picture of him and not just what he does for his

Id like to get your opinion on something.
Its the damsel in the distress call, and its pure catnip for men: Thats because we
love feeling useful, and you seeking our advice definitely fits the bill. So whether you
need tips on buying a digital camera or how to handle a tricky situation with your
boss, hell be glad to help. (He will be less eager, however, to comment on shopping,
knitting or his dating past...but you knew that.)

...And 5 things men hate to hear:

My last boyfriend...
All we can say is, why? Why mention that your ex was a jerk? Why mention that you
and your ex are pals? Why mention your ex, period? Whatever you say, all we will
hear is, Im out with you, but Im still thinking a lot about another man. Although
men like to compete, they dont like to do it on a date with men who arent even in
the same room.

Do you mind if I take this call?
Of course we mind. We wont say we do, but we do. So unless its a dire emergency
involving your kids or grandmother on her deathbed, let your voicemail pick up.
Trust us, an hour paying attention to your date wont kill you.

So how do you feel about abortion?
This type of question is known among men as a litmus testa touchy topic that
women raise to gauge whether were politically, morally, or spiritually on the same
page as them (the death penalty, gay marriage, and the war in Iraq also fit the bill).
Sure, we probably have strong opinions. But were not interested in getting into
them with you, at least not yet. After all, this is a date, not debate club. Lets have fun
and save more heated back-and-forths for later.

And then I found this cute pair of sandals...
Granted, you and your girlfriends can spend hours gushing about shopping, shoes,
and new hairstyles. But youre not out with your girlfriends. Youre out with a guy,
remember? And same as how we wouldnt subject you to talk about stocks or our
favorite sports teams, please, do us the same favor.

How do you feel about having a family?
Pop this question during those first few dates, and most men will assume your
biological clock is ticking fastand thats not a good thing. Its not that we dont
want families, many of us doits just that we like to get to know a woman first. And
we like to know you like us as more than just as a potential baby-making machine.
After all, wheres the romance in that?

Robert Harris is the author of 101 Things NOT To Do Before You Die.

Article slightly modified for our audience.

The Perfect Figure

So you think sending your wife to the plastic surgeon will put that spark back into
the relationship? Not likely. Actually, you're the one who needs to go to the Curv Dr.

The Curv Dr. will teach you the 6 primary love needs of women. If you fulfill these
needs, the bonds of love will only strengthen.

C - Caring
U - Understanding
R - Respect
V - Validation

D - Devotion
R - Reassurance

Caring - when a husband shows interest in his wife's feelings and heartfelt concern
for her well-being, she feels *cared for*.

Example: Anas ibn Malik narrates, "I saw the Prophet (salla Allahu 'alaihi wa
sallam), making for her (Safiya) a kind of cushion with his cloak behind him (on his
camel). He then sat beside his camel and put his knee for Safiya to put her foot on, in
order to ride (on the camel)." [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Understanding - When the husband listens without judgement but with empathy
and relatedness to his wife expressing her feelings, she feels heard and
*understood*. Don't presume to already know your wife's thoughts or feelings when
she is trying to communicate them to you. Instead, gather meaning from what is
being said.

Example: If your wife is talking about the frustrations of the day how unbearably
long the line was at the supermarket, just listen to her and when she's finished, say,
"Wow, that must have really tried your patience!" Show her that you understand her
feelings and can relate to her experience. Don't say, "Ummm... You should have just
used the self-checkout." Instead, just listen and show you understand without
offering solutions. Later on, when she's not venting, you can suggest that she try the

Respect - When the husband responds to his wife in a way that acknowledges and
prioritizes her rights, wishes, and needs, she feels *respected*. Physical expressions
of respect like flowers, gifts, keeping her likes/dislikes in mind, and showing your
appreciation are essential.

Example: Make an effort to look good for her. Give her gifts - they don't have to be
big or expensive. Always show her appreciation for even the little things she does.

Validation - When the husband does not object to or argue with a woman's feelings
and wants, but instead accepts and confirms their *validity*, she feels loved. Confirm
her right to feel the way she does. (You can confirm her point of view even if you
have a different point of view).

Example: Once during a journey, Safiyyah (radi Allahu 'anha) was crying because
she had be made to ride a slow camel. The Prophet (salla Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam)
didn't tell her she was being unreasonable. Instead, he wiped her tears, comforted
her, and even tried to find her another camel. [Can someone find the actual hadeeth and its reference?]

Devotion - When the husband gives priority to the wife's needs and commits
himself to supporting and fulfilling her, she feels adored and special. When she is
more important to him than work, television, etc., then she feels his *devotion*.

Simple example: Look at her when she talks to you. Don't be afraid to show your
devotion. The Prophet (salla Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) openly stated his love for his

Reassurance - To repeatedly do all of the above *reassures* the wife that she is
continually loved. The husband must reassure his wife of his love again and again.

Simple example: Give her a hug and say "I love you" 4 times a day at least.

Ok, guys, time to memorize it:

C - Caring
U - Understanding
R - Respect
V - Validation

D - Devotion
R - Reassurance

TEA Triple A

Your husband's Love Tank ran dry, the engine broke down, and now your marriage
is stuck in a ditch by the side of the road? No need to worry! Just sit back and have a
nice cup of TEA while you call up Triple A to pull your marriage out of the rut.

TEA Triple A - roadside assistance for understanding the 6 primary love needs of

T - Trust
E - Encouragement
A - Admiration

A - Approval
A - Appreciation
A - Acceptance

Trust - When the wife's attitude is open and receptive toward her husband, he feels
*trusted*. To trust a man is to believe that he is doing his best and that he wants the
best for his wife. This positive belief should be reflected by the wife's interactions
with her husband.

Example: The husband is trying to fix the kitchen sink. As he struggles with the
wrench, the wife looks on and says, "Maybe you should call a plumber..." The
husband feels crushed because he thinks she doesn't trust him to do what's best for
them. Instead, the wife should refrain from giving unsolicited advice (except Islamic
advice, of course).

Encouragement - When the wife expresses confidence in her husband's abilities
and character, it fills him with hope and courage and he feels *encouraged*.

Example: When the Prophet (salla Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) received the first
revelation from Allah, he was terrified and sought comfort with his wife Khadija. He
said, "I fear that something may happen to me." Khadija replied, "Never! But have
the glad tidings, for by Allah, Allah will never disgrace you as you keep good
relations with your kith and kin, speak the truth, help the poor and the destitute,
serve your guest generously and assist the deserving, calamity-afflicted ones."
[Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Admiration - When the wife views the husband with wonder, delight, and pleased
approval, the husband feels *admired*. Telling him what to do as if he were a child
does not make him feel admired. Admiration is when the wife is happily amazed by
his unique characteristics or talents like humor, strength, persistence, integrity,
honesty, romance, kindness, love, understanding, etc.

Example: Once the prophet (salla Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was sitting in a room
with Aisha and fixing his shoes. It was very warm, and Aisha looked to his blessed
forehead and noticed that there were beads of sweat on it. She became
overwhelmed by the majesty of that sight was staring at him long enough for him to
notice. He said, "What's the matter?" She replied, "If Abu Bukair Al-Huthali, the poet,
saw you, he would know that his poem was written for you." The Prophet (salla
Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) asked, "What did he say?" She replied, "Abu Bukair said
that if you looked to the majesty of the moon, it twinkles and lights up the world for
everybody to see." So the Prophet (salla Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) got up, walked to
Aisha, kissed her between the eyes, and said, "Wallahi ya Aisha, you are like that to
me and more."

Approval - When the wife acknowledges the goodness in her husband and
expresses overall satisfaction with him, the husband receives the *approval* he
needs. An approving attitude looks for the good reasons behind what the husband
does (even if she doesn't agree with the act itself). Every man wants to be his wife's
hero. The sign that he's achieved that is his wife's approval.

Example: If the wife expresses her upset feelings indirectly with rhetorical questions
like, "How could you do that?" he feels she has taken away her approval of him. He
no longer feels like the good guy.

Appreciation - When the wife acknowledges having received personal benefit and
value from her husband's efforts and behavior, he feels *appreciated*. When a man
is appreciated, he knows his effort is not wasted and is thus encouraged to give

Example: Acknowledge what your husband has done for you instead of just
complaining about what he has not done. If he doesn't hear your appreciation, he
won't continue his efforts.

Acceptance - When the wife lovingly receives her husband without trying to change
him, he feels *accepted*. This accepting attitude does not mean that she believes he
is perfect, but it indicates that she is not trying to improve him and that she trusts
him to make his own improvements.

Example: Don't nag him about his bad habits or try to control his behavior by
sharing upset or negative feelings. Sharing feelings is ok, but not when used to
punish or manipulate.

Ok, time to memorize it:

TEA Triple A
T - Trust
E - Encouragement
A - Admiration

A - Approval
A - Appreciation
A - Acceptance

Things to Consider Before Getting Married
Written: 10/02/2007

After 7 years of marriage I can honestly say that I would do it again. I'd marry the
same woman without changing a thing. Well, maybe we would have spent our
money a little more conservatively but as far as the the decision on marriage - it was
a perfect one (no, I am not saying this because she reads Dumb Little Man!).

Unfortunately, as I consider our acquaintances and their marriages, it's clear that all
marriages are not created equal. Cheating and chronic fighting surrounds us and
often times we are stuck in the middle as these people come to us for advice.

Here are a handful of things that have become common themes. My assumption is
that you've already talked about religion, having kids, sex, etc. If not, you really need
to open up the communication.

So before you say "I Do", make sure you have at least considered these:
Ability to Compromise: There are subtle changes that most people can
make in their lives in order to make their spouse happy. This is part of the
never ending compromise phase that is critical.

When single, I'd watch football games at bars every Saturday and Sunday
(and sometimes Thursday). Once married, I toned it down to one day. This is
a manageable change that I was willing to make. However, had my wife
insisted that I give up all sports entirely, I would have resisted and eventually
resented her. That resent would have spread and ultimately influenced my
overall attitude towards her.

The same is true for just about everything. The willingness of the other
person to compromise today (of the lack thereof) and your reaction to it will
prove to be a precedent setting event. If someone is absolutely unwilling to
compromise on minor issues, you should expect the same for larger issues.
Don't be shocked and appalled by it when it happens three years from now-
you knew this going in and you accepted it!
Money - Yes, we all want it but once we have it who controls it. My wife
started direct depositing her paychecks into my account after 3 months of
dating. I actually don't recommend that so soon but she was bad with money
and she admitted it. For us, it was a matter of getting our credit into shape
(we had 640 credit and back then, now its 850 836) and we needed a
strategy to pay off college and personal debt.

Once that debt was paid off and we moved into our house, I turned the
finances back over to her after a crash course in on time payments and credit.
I never looked back. I enjoyed the strategy part of it but not the day-to-day
grind of bill paying. She actually enjoyed it because as a stay at home Mom, it
gave her the insight she needed to plan for grocery purchases, clothes for the
kids, etc.

So before you get hitched, what is your plan today and 5 years from now?
Who is handling what?
Who cleans the toilets? - Toilets and the remainder of the housework is a
constant issue. It all needs to get done and it's not the most fun. Setup a plan
for this in the beginning. My suggestion is a weekly rotation - perhaps you'll
come up with something different. The point of this is to set the expectation
on both sides so that someone doesn't feel like a housekeeper. Chores need
to be shared regardless of the work and income situation. Being a woman
doesn't mean the wife has to handle at all.
The plan: In talking to people, it became pretty apparent that their initial
goals were in line but after the kids are born and careers take off, there is a
fork in the road. I agree that all plans change and there is no way to write a
script for your marriage but a lot of the confusion can be removed by having
a 1, 3, 6 and 9 year plan. You should have this conversation now and then
revisit it all the time. This does not mean you only review goals at these
intervals. These are simply due dates.

I am often questioned as to why 1,3,6,9.
o 1 Year Plan: This one is obvious. After the wedding, where will you
live, where will you eventually live. Who handles what, what is the
combined income, what can we afford etc.
o At 3 years: You are no longer newlyweds and you are perhaps
considering kids. Heck, you may already have a kid at this point. You
need a plan for that, a plan for who works, who stays home, what type
of daycare, etc. This is also around the time that your first condo or
"couple's house" loses it appeal. What kind of house do we want?
Where? Can we afford that? How are the schools? What is Plan B if
someone gets fired? Do we know what utilities cost?
o 6 years: We have all heard of the 7 year itch. Therefore, it stands to
reason that you have a plan set with a deadline of 6 years. Where do
you want the marriage to be in 6 years? Communication habits, sex
life, careers...everything. Talk about it now and periodically consider
making adjustments based on the the success of your approach. Plans
are meant to be changed.
o 9 years: Again, where do you want to the marriage to be in 9 years?
Why? What will life be like? How many kids will we have by then? Are
we sending them to public school? What if someone's parent dies?

Holidays - Just discuss how and where you will celebrate holidays. This is a
battle for nearly everyone I know.
Discipline - Are we spanking the kids, are we talking and coaching or are we
doing both? No matter how happy you are now, if you're against physical
discipline and your spouse is not, you will slowly learn to resent and dislike
him/her each time a spanking is doled out. Discuss it NOW and avoid a
Ok, religion - How important is it and how will we teach the kids?
Communications, cheating - I don't care how many conversations you have,
no one will ever openly state that they "may cheat". A key here is to be
undoubtedly sure that the precedent is set for open communication. If a wife
is not happy, the FIRST action on her part should be to talk to the husband
(and vice versa). The only way to do this consistently is to talk; not yell, not
argue, but talk like civilized people. If you become enraged every time your
spouse tries to talk to you, you are pushing away an opportunity to fix a
problem. Take time out and actually LISTEN. Marriage is not an argument or
a punishment unless you make it one.
There are clearly a lot of other things to consider. Bad choices are going to
made regardless of how thorough you plan; that's life. You wouldn't go on a
1,500 mile road trip without putting some thought into it and your marriage
should be thought of in the same way. By planning and talking, the aim is to
minimize the possible obstacles by first identifying them and getting them
out in the open before they reach a critical, war-type, level.

What do you wish you discussed or planned before tying the knot?


Relationship Red Flags

Dont fall into the trap of thinking that marrying the person will solve your
relationship problems. If you love someone who is unsafe, the only solution is to
distance yourself until they have dealt with their issue. Forcing him or her to
confront their destructive behavior may be the most loving thing you can do for
each other. from the Christian Family Guide to Getting Married by James S. Bell Jr.

Red Flags:
- Controlling behavior
- Unfounded jealousy
- Volatile temper
- Constant criticism
- Blames others
- Substance abuse
- Using physical force to solve problems

Others: ( )
-Rudeness to waiters, cab drivers, checkout clerks, etc.
- Scary divorce stories
- Demon children
- Men who wont/cant afford dinner/movies/flowers
- The Parent Trap
- Dirty underwear & socks
- The anger hum

Defensive Dating: (http://www.relationship-
avoids discussing their past or present life, or does so only vaguely
appears overly dependent on family members
seems to have few or no personal boundaries
exhibits excessive alcohol or drug use/abuse
exhibits frequent flirting or staring at others; seems to need constant
is not emotionally finished with ex-spouses/ex-lovers
is recently divorced or broken up from relationship
has credit problems, debts, shaky finances, undergoing a "temporary bad
seems to need to be in control at all times
never shows any fear or vulnerability
is unreliable; doesn't follow through on prearranged plans; is constantly late
expresses an overfocus on sexual themes
has few or no long-term friendships or previous relationships
interrupts without listening; talks only about self and never asks you about
is unavailable through overwork or excessive interests, family, children
has a negative, pessimistic outlook on life; constantly critical of others;
sarcastic sense of humor
does not take care of self in diet, exercise, appearance
cannot tolerate feedback from others without getting defensive
exhibits excessive computer use
has inappropriate ways of handling conflicts, or avoids conflict entirely
whenever possible
exhibits an inappropriate expression of anger


Feeling emotionally disconnected
Feeling emotionally disconnected? The good news is that you can reconnect with
your spouse. But doing so, says Gary Neuman, requires you to be unflinchingly
honest with yourself and your behaviors.

You've got to make a commitment to turn things around, set guidelines for your
relationship, and work toward a better future together. His four-point connection
plan ensures that you and your spouse are constantly putting loving energy into
your relationship.

Have Five Touch Points a Day
Touch your spouse lovingly at least five times a day. Kissing, hugging, and hand
holding are all healthy touch points. Try to make each touch point meaningful,
letting your spouse know that he or she is in your thoughts every day.
Have Four Talk Points a Week
The average couple talks only four minutes a day. It's no wonder spouses don't feel
close and loved. Four days a week, plan at least 45 minutes when you can be alone
together and do something you both enjoy. These aren't times to talk about
problems, but rather to increase your easygoing time together.
Have a Weekly Date Night
One night a week, come hell or high water, you and your spouse should go out alone
to enjoy each other's company. You can do anything, go anywhere, and talk about
anything except three things: money, children, and work (unless it's exciting stuff
for example, I got a promotion).
The Honeymoon Night
At least once a month (this may coincide with date night), plan a fabulous night of
romance and lovemaking. Plan the details: a wonderful meal; a fun time out on a
date; a romantic movieanything that screams "romance" to you. Make this the
recharging night that will advance your relationship beyond words.

(Adapted from Emotional Infidelity: How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage and 10 Other
Secrets to a Great Relationship by M. Gary Neuman)

From the show Extreme Breakups

Marriage SOS: Straight Talk About What it's Really Like
Iris Krasnow, author of Surrendering to Marriage, says that even marriages
seemingly on the brink of divorce can be saved. Here she offers some of what she
learned about marriage while researching for her book:

Accept and expect feelings of hate to be part of marriage. Learn how to
demonstrate rage silently, to swing with it, because you can count on the hate
changing into something wonderful. Just like you can count on tender love turning
into fighting. Marriage can be a pain; you can count on that. So surrender to that fact
and get on with things.
It is a fantasy to count on marriage to be a wellspring of contentment. Thinking
you will get happiness ever after is a ticket to divorce. The sting of Cupid's arrow
will fade. There will be fewer ah-has and more ho-hums. Surrender to that rhythm
and the grind of the ordinary, and a sustained and profound satisfaction can be
Stop searching for perfect love elsewhere. No such animal exists. Many people
who have left marriages to chase someone they believed to be sexier than their
spouse end up with bigger problems than ones they left behind. These include
dealing with stepchildren, the unrelenting Rage of the Spouse and the realization
that the same tough issues are surfacing again. That's because they took their own
imperfect selves with them, and from that there is no escape.
Hug and kiss your spouse as often as you do your kids. Your spouse will behave
better. Come from a place of compassion and vulnerability, rather than snarly anger,
and you'll find that most of the time you will get everything you need or want.
Surrender to your imperfect marriage. Admit that you love it more than you hate
it. Keep your wedding promises of "I do" and "I will," vows that you must (we all
must) work to the bone to fulfill.
From the show Surrendering to Marriage

The Male Brain vs Female Brain

Some interesting differences between men's and women's brains, collected from
sources listed below. Read with a grain of salt, and further investigate the ones that
get you riled up.

1. Men's brains are larger, but as they age, they also shrink faster than women's

2. Women's brains operate at a higher temperature, due to burning more glucose.

3. Women use more of their brains when they think.

4. Men's brains contain roughly 6.5 times the amount of grey matter as women's
brains, while women's brains contain about 10 times as much white matter as
men's. Researchers point to this finding to explain the controversial belief that in
general, men may naturally excel at math while women tend to excel in areas like
language. Read more about this research here.

6. Men tend to score an average of 4 to 5 points higher on intelligence tests, as
reported by the journal Intelligence in Sept. 2006. Don't believe us? Click here.

6. The average man will think about sex as often as once a minute, while the average
woman will think of sex much less often, as infrequently as once every one or two

7. Why do women always want to talk? Researchers have found that connecting
with another through talking will trigger the pleasure centers in a woman's brain, a
high second only to an orgasm.

8. Baby girls have been observed to typically have stronger reactions than boys to
disturbing or distressful sounds.

9. A 20-second hug will trigger the release of oxytocin in a woman's brain. The effect
of this chemical will often give the woman a feeling of trust in the person hugging

10. Men reportedly use less words per day than women. Depending on which study
you believe (if any), the "word gap" can be anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 words a
Sources: Sex on the Brain, Deborah Blum; The Female Brain, Louann Brizendine;
University of California, Brown University and University of New Mexico research;;;;

Six Steps Peace Plan

Every couple will argue at some point; disagreements are a normal part of any
relationship. Learn how to fight fairly with these ideas from Dr. Phil McGraw.

1. Find a visual cue (holding up a card, for instance) to signal that a fight is starting
and it's time to nip it in the bud.

2. Take the discussion someplace private and conduct it hand-in-hand with your
mate. You're going to talk to a person you love, so close the personal space and deal
with them closely. Hold hands. It makes it easier to communicate, and much, much
harder to argue.

3. Take the word "anger" out of your vocabulary. Instead, replace it with one or
more of the following: fear, hurt or frustration. Fear, hurt and frustration are the
three emotions that are always at the root of anger. (And remember: don't use
words like "steamed," "ticked off" or "P.O'ed" in place of "anger." Keep it on the big

4. Express your needs to your partner. No, he or she probably doesn't already
know what those needs are. Be articulate. State what you need plainly. Remain calm.

5. Work the problem. Cooperation, not competition, is the idea here, so take some
time to calm down before finding a solution to the issue.

6. Share a moment of peace to re-affirm your bond once a resolution or decision
has been reached. This might be a silent, 60-second hug, or looking into one
another's eyes for a full minute.

Forgiveness: How to let go of grudges and bitterness
Original Article:
Katherine M. Piderman, Ph.D.
Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Your mother
criticized your parenting skills. Your friend gossiped about you. Your partner had an
affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness and
even vengeance. But when you don't practice forgiveness, you may be the one who
pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you embrace peace, hope, gratitude
and joy. Here, Katherine M. Piderman, Ph.D., staff chaplain at Mayo Clinic, Rochester,
Minn., discusses forgiveness and how it can lead you down the path of physical,
emotional and spiritual well-being.
What is forgiveness?
There's no one definition of forgiveness. But in general, forgiveness is a decision to
let go of resentments and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness is the act of untying
yourself from thoughts and feelings that bind you to the offense committed against
you. This can reduce the power these feelings otherwise have over you, so that you
can a live freer and happier life in the present. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings
of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.
Doesn't forgiving someone mean you're forgetting or condoning what
Absolutely not! Forgiving isn't the same as forgetting what happened to you. The act
that hurt or offended you may always remain a part of your life. But forgiveness can
lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, positive parts of your life.
Forgiveness also doesn't mean that you deny the other person's responsibility for
hurting you, and it doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person
without excusing the act.
What are the benefits of forgiving someone?
Researchers have recently become interested in studying the effects of being
unforgiving and being forgiving. Evidence is mounting that holding on to grudges
and bitterness results in long-term health problems. Forgiveness, on the other hand,
offers numerous benefits, including:
Lower blood pressure
Stress reduction
Less hostility
Better anger management skills
Lower heart rate
Lower risk of alcohol or substance abuse
Fewer depression symptoms
Fewer anxiety symptoms
Reduction in chronic pain
More friendships
Healthier relationships
Greater religious or spiritual well-being
Improved psychological well-being
Why do we hold grudges and become resentful and unforgiving?
The people most likely to hurt us are those closest to us our partners, friends,
siblings and parents. When we're hurt by someone we love and trust whether it's
a lie, betrayal, rejection, abuse or insult it can be extremely difficult to overcome.
And even minor offenses can turn into huge conflicts. When you experience hurt or
harm from someone's actions or words, whether this is intended or not, you may
begin experiencing negative feelings such as anger, confusion or sadness, especially
when it's someone close to you. These feelings may start out small. But if you don't
deal with them quickly, they can grow bigger and more powerful. They may even
begin to crowd out positive feelings. Grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and
hostility take root when you dwell on hurtful events or situations, replaying them in
your mind many times. Soon, you may find yourself swallowed up by your own
bitterness or sense of injustice. You may feel trapped and may not see a way out. It's
very hard to let go of grudges at this point and instead you may remain resentful
and unforgiving.
How do I know it's time to try to embrace forgiveness?
When we hold on to pain, old grudges, bitterness and even hatred, many areas of
our lives can suffer. When we're unforgiving, it's we who pay the price over and
over. We may bring our anger and bitterness into every relationship and new
experience. Our lives may be so wrapped up in the wrong that we can't enjoy the
present. Other signs that it may be time to consider forgiveness include:
Dwelling on the events surrounding the offense
Hearing from others that you have a chip on your shoulder or that you're wallowing
in self-pity
Being avoided by family and friends because they don't enjoy being around you
Having angry outbursts at the smallest perceived slights
Often feeling misunderstood
Drinking excessively, smoking or using drugs to try to cope with your pain
Having symptoms of depression or anxiety
Being consumed by a desire for revenge or punishment
Automatically thinking the worst about people or situations
Regretting the loss of a valued relationship
Feeling like your life lacks meaning or purpose
Feeling at odds with your religious or spiritual beliefs
The bottom line is that you may often feel miserable in your current life.
How do I reach a state of forgiveness?
Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. It can be difficult and it can
take time. Everyone moves toward forgiveness a little differently. One step is to
recognize the value of forgiveness and its importance in our lives at a given time.
Another is to reflect on the facts of the situation, how we've reacted, and how this
combination has affected our lives, our health and our well-being. Then, as we are
ready, we can actively choose to forgive the one who has offended us. In this way,
we move away from our role as a victim and release the control and power the
offending person and situation have had in our lives. Forgiveness also means that
we change old patterns of beliefs and actions that are driven by our bitterness. As
we let go of grudges, we'll no longer define our lives by how we've been hurt, and
we may even find compassion and understanding.
What happens if I can't forgive someone?
Forgiveness can be very challenging. It may be particularly hard to forgive someone
who doesn't admit wrong or doesn't speak of their sorrow. Keep in mind that the
key benefits of forgiveness are for you. If you find yourself stuck, it may be helpful to
take some time to talk with a person you've found to be wise and compassionate,
such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider or an unbiased family member or
friend. It may also be helpful to reflect on times you've hurt others and on those who
have forgiven you. As you recall how you felt, it may help you to understand the
position of the person who hurt you. It can also be beneficial to pray, use guided
meditation or journal. In any case, if the intention to forgive is present, forgiveness
will come in its time.
Does forgiveness guarantee reconciliation?
Not always. In some cases, reconciliation may be impossible because the offender
has died. In other cases, reconciliation may not be appropriate, especially if you
were attacked or assaulted. But even in those cases, forgiveness is still possible,
even if reconciliation isn't. On the other hand, if the hurtful event involved a family
member or friend whose relationship you otherwise value, forgiveness may lead to
reconciliation. This may not happen quickly, as you both may need time to re-
establish trust. But in the end, your relationship may very well be one that is rich
and fulfilling.
What if I have to interact with the person who hurt me but I don't want to?
These situations are difficult. If the hurt involves a family member, it may not always
be possible to avoid him or her entirely. You may be invited to the same family
holiday gatherings, for instance. If you've reached a state of forgiveness, you may be
able to enjoy these gatherings without bringing up the old hurts. If you haven't
reached forgiveness, these gatherings may be tense and stressful for everyone,
particularly if other family members have chosen sides in the conflict.
So how do you handle this? First, remember that you do have a choice whether to
attend or not attend family get-togethers. Respect yourself and do what seems best.
If you choose to go, don't be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and
perhaps even more intense feelings. It's important to keep an eye on those feelings.
You don't want them to lead you to be unjust or unkind in return for what was done
to you. Also, avoid drinking too much alcohol as a way to try to numb your feelings
or feel better it'll likely backfire. And keep an open heart and mind. People do
change, and perhaps the offender will want to apologize or make amends. You also
may find that the gathering helps you to move forward with forgiveness.
How do I know when I've truly forgiven someone?
Forgiveness may result in sincerely spoken words such as "I forgive you" or tender
actions that fit the relationship. But more than this, forgiveness brings a kind of
peace that helps you go on with life. The offense is no longer front and center in your
thoughts or feelings. Your hostility, resentment and misery have made way for
compassion, kindness and peace. Also, remember that forgiveness often isn't a one-
time thing. It begins with a decision, but because memories or another set of words
or actions may trigger old feelings, you may need to recommit to forgiveness over
and over again.
What if the person I'm forgiving doesn't change?
Getting the other person to change their actions, behavior or words isn't the point of
forgiveness. In fact, the other person may never change or apologize for the offense.
Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life by bringing you
more peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness takes away
the power the other person continues to wield in your life. Through forgiveness, you
choose to no longer define yourself as a victim. Forgiveness is done primarily for
yourself, and less so for the person who wronged you.
What if I'm the one who needs forgiveness?
It may help to spend some time thinking about the offense you've committed and
trying to determine the effect it has had on others. Unless it may cause more harm
or distress, consider admitting the wrong you've done to those you've harmed,
speaking of your sincere sorrow or regret, and specifically asking for forgiveness
without making excuses. But if this seems unwise because it may further harm or
distress, don't do it it's not about making yourself feel better by apologizing. You
don't want to add salt to a painful wound. Also, keep in mind that you can't force
someone to forgive you. They will need to move to forgiveness in their own time.
In any case, we have to be willing to forgive ourselves. Holding on to resentment
against yourself can be just as toxic as holding on to resentment against someone
else. Recognize that poor behavior or mistakes don't make you worthless or bad.
Accept the fact that you like everyone else aren't perfect. Accept yourself
despite your faults. Admit your mistakes. Commit to treating others with
compassion, empathy and respect. And again, talking with a spiritual leader, mental
health provider or trusted friend or relative may be helpful.
Forgiveness of yourself or someone else, though not easy, can transform your life.
Instead of dwelling on the injustice and revenge, instead of being angry and bitter,
you can move toward a life of peace, compassion, mercy, joy and kindness.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Nov 21, 2007
1998-2007 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All
rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for
noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," ","
"EmbodyHealth," "Reliable tools for healthier lives," "Enhance your life," and the
triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical
Education and Research.

25 Acts of Body Language to Avoid

Our body language exhibits far more information about how we feel than it
is possible to articulate verbally. All of the physical gestures we make are
subconsciously interpreted by others. This can work for or against us depending on
the kind of body language we use. Some gestures project a very positive message,
while others do nothing but set a negative tone.
Most people are totally oblivious to their own body language, so the discipline of
controlling these gestures can be quite challenging. Most of them are reflexive in
nature, automatically matching up to what our minds are thinking at any given
moment. Nevertheless, with the right information and a little practice, we can train
ourselves to overcome most of our negative body language habits.

Practice avoiding these 25 negative gestures:

Holding Objects in Front of Your Body a coffee cup, notebook, hand bag, etc.
Holding objects in front of your body indicates shyness and resistance, such that
youre hiding behind the objects in an effort to separate yourself from others.
Instead of carrying objects in front of you, carry them at your side whenever

Checking the Time or Inspecting Your Fingernails a strong sign of boredom.
Never glance at the time when youre speaking with someone. Likewise, completely
avoid the act of inspecting your fingernails.

Picking Lint Off of Your Clothes If you pick lint off of your clothes during a
conversation, especially in conjunction with looking downwards, most people will
assume that you disapprove of their ideas and/or feel uneasy about giving them an
honest opinion. Leave the lint alone!

Stroking Your Chin While Looking at Someone Im judging you! People
frequently stroke their chin during the decision-making process. If you look at
someone while youre stroking your chin, they may assume that youre making a
judgmental decision about them.

Narrowing Your Eyes If you want to give someone the impression that you dont
like them (or their ideas), narrow your eyes while looking at them. It immediately
places a scowling expression on your face. A slight narrowing of the eyes is an
instinctual, universal expression of anger across various species in the animal
kingdom (think about the angry expressions of tigers, dogs, etc.). Some people make
the mistake of narrowing their eyes during a conversation as a reflex of thinking.
Dont send people the wrong message dont narrow your eyes.

Standing Too Close This just makes people feel uncomfortable. Most people
consider the 4 square feet of space immediately surrounding their body to be
personal space. Cross this invisible boundary with good friends and intimate mates

Looking Down While in the Presence of Others usually indicates disinterest.
Sometimes its even interpreted as a casual sign of arrogance. Always look straight
ahead and make eye contact when you see someone you know.

Touching Your Face During a Conversation Face touching, especially on the
nose, is commonly interpreted as an indication of deception. Also, covering up the
mouth is a common gesture people make when theyre lying. Always keep your
hands away from your face when youre speaking.

Faking a Smile another sign of deception commonly seen on the face of a fraud. A
genuine smile wrinkles the corners of the eyes and changes the expression of the
entire face. Fake smiles only involve the mouth and lips. Its easy to distinguish
between the two. Dont force yourself to smile unless its for the camera.

Leaning Away From Someone You Like a sign of being bored and disinterested.
Some people may also interpret it to mean: I dont like you. People typically lean
towards people they like and away from people they dislike. This is especially true
when they are sitting around a table. If you lean away from someone you like,
youre sending them the wrong message.

Resting Hands Behind the Head or on the Hips usually interpreted as a sign of
superiority or bigheadedness. Only use these gestures when youre in the presence
of close friends.

Not Directly Facing the Person Youre Speaking To This indicates a certain
level of discomfort or a lack of interest. When were happily engaged in a
conversation we face the person were speaking to with our feet and torso facing
directly forward. When were unsure of the other person, or not completely
committed to the conversation, we tend to angle our feet and torso to the side. Face
directly forward during a conversation to give off the impression that youre truly
interested in what the other person is saying.

Crossing Your Arms a sign of defensive resistance. Some people may also
interpret it as a sign of egotism. Always try to keep your arms open and at your

Displaying a Sluggish Posture When youre in an environment bustling with
people your posture becomes an immediate telltale sign of your confidence and
composure. Your stance literally makes a stand for you, delivering a clear message
about how you should be treated. It can make a huge difference in the way
strangers respond to you. Place your feet a comfortable distance apart, keep your
shoulders pulled back, head up and greet people with direct eye contact and a firm

Scratching at the Backside of Your Head and Neck a typical sign of doubt and
uncertainty. It can also be interpreted as an indication of lying. Try to keep your
hands away from your head when youre communicating with others.

Messing With the Collar of Your Shirt It screams: I feel horribly uncomfortable
and/or nervous! Once again, keep track of your hands. Dont fidget.

Increasing Your Rate of Blinking a clear sign of anxiety. Some people start
blinking their eyes really fast (in conjunction with an increased heart rate) when
they get nervous. Since most people try to make eye contact, it becomes
immediately obvious to others. Be cognizant of your blinking habits when youre
nervous, especially if someone is looking at you from a close proximity.

Slouching Your Shoulders indicates low self-esteem. People associate perked-up
shoulders with strong self-confidence. Always pull your shoulders back. Not only
will you look more confident, youll feel more confident as well.

Standing with Your Hands Crossed Over Your Genitals This casual posture
almost guarantees that youll lose a little respect before you even have the chance to
speak a single word. People feeling nervous or unsure of themselves will
unconsciously take a guarded stance. Quite frequently they adopt a posture that
guards one of their most vulnerable areas, their genitals. This stance pushes your
shoulders forward and makes your entire body look smaller and weaker. Again, try
to keep your hands at your sides and your shoulders back.

Propping Up Your Head with Your Hands Im getting bored! Never prop up
your head with your elbows and hands during a conversation. Place your hands on
the table in front of you and keep them at rest.

Wiping Sweaty Hands onto Your Clothes a sign of frantic nervousness. If your
hands are sweating, just let them sweat. Take a few deep breaths and try to relax.

Sitting on the Edge of Your Chair a clear indication of being mentally and
physically uncomfortable. Its an apprehensive stance that will make others around
you feel uncomfortable as well. Keep your rear end firmly planted on the surface of
the seat. When you lean forward, use your back without moving your bottom.

Foot and Finger Tapping usually indicates stress, impatience or boredom.
Monitor your habits and practice keeping your limbs at rest.

Using Your Hands to Fidget with Small Objects a pen, paper ball, etc. This is
another sign of anxiety. It can also be interpreted as a lack of preparedness. Its
always best to keep your hands comfortably at rest when youre in the presence of

Repeatedly Shifting Body Weight from Foot to Foot This is another gesture that
usually indicates mental and physical discomfort. People may also see this and
assume that youre ready to abandon the conversation, especially if youre not
directly facing them. Dont shift your feet around more than once every 2 to 3

Changing roles of women in America and happiness?

Among the most confounding changes of all is the evidence, tracked by numerous
surveys, that as women have gained more freedom, more education and more
economic power, they have become less happy."

"Especially in the absence of social supports, flexible work arrangements and
affordable child care, it's hardly surprising that amajority of both men and women
still say it is best for children to have a father working and a mother at
home. Among the most dramatic changes in the past generation is the detachment
of marriage and motherhood; more men than women identified marriage as "very
important" to their happiness. Women no longer view matrimony as a necessary
station on the road to financial security or parenthood. The percentage of children
born to single women has leaped from 12% to 39%. Whereas a majority of children
in the mid-1970s were raised by a stay-at-home parent, the portion is now less than
a third, and nearly two-thirds of people say this has been a negative for
American society. "

"In the 1970s, a majority of children grew up with a stay-at-home parent; now that
figure is less than a third. A large majority 70% of men, 61% of women believe
this has had a negative effect on society. Fifty-seven percent of men and 51% of
women agree that it is better for a family if the father works outside the home and
the mother takes care of the children. Asked to rank what they value most for their
own daughters, 63% of men and 56% of women put a happy marriage with children
first; 17% of men and 23% of women said an interesting career; and 15% of men
and 20% of women said financial success."

Birth Control

Abortion in Islam
Abortion in Islam. A topic that to most people, has a clear cut answer, that its
not allowed unless the life of the mother or fetus is in danger. To them, its
impermissibility is obvious when Allah subhanawatAla talks about it in Surah
Maidah, ayah 32:
Whosoever has spared the life of a soul, it is as though he has spared the life of
all people. Whosoever has killed a soul, it is as though he has murdered all of
Even though this ayah is not directly stating that abortion is not allowed, it is
used because after 120 days in the womb, the fetus becomes a living organism as
proven by the following hadith:
Abu 'Abd al-Rahman 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud, radiyallahu 'anhu, reported: The
Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, the most truthful, the most trusted,
told us: "Verily the creation of any one of you takes place when he is assembled in
his mother's womb; for forty days he is as a drop of fluid, then it becomes a clot for a
similar period. Thereafter, it is a lump looking like it has been chewed for a similar
period. Then an angel is sent to him, who breathes the ruh (spirit) into him. This
Angel is commanded to write Four decrees: that he writes down his provision (rizq),
his life span, his deeds, and whether he will be among the wretched or the blessed
[Bukhari & Muslim]
However, based on this hadith, there are two views that are presented on
abortion. The first view states that abortion is allowed (provided there is a very
good reason - e.g. the woman's life is in danger) only before the ruh is breathed into
the fetus, i.e. before 120 days - as opposed to 40 days if the second view is to be
The second view states that the word "nutfah" does not belong to the text of
the hadith. This changes the meaning of the hadith which interprets the three stages
of the fetus as taking place in the first forty days. This view correlates with scientific
facts. And this means that the ruh is breathed into the fetus after forty days, and not
120 days. Consequently the Fatwa on abortion states that abortion is allowed only
before forty days.
Different schools of Muslim law hold different views on whether any other
reasons for abortion are permitted, and at what stage of pregnancy if so. As stated
above, some schools of Muslim law permit abortion in the first 16 weeks of
pregnancy, while others only permit it in the first 7 weeks. However, even those
scholars who would permit early abortion in certain cases still regard abortion as
wrong, but do not regard it as a punishable wrong. The more advanced the
pregnancy, the greater the wrong.
The Qur'an does not explicitly refer to abortion but offers guidance on
related matters. Scholars accept that this guidance can properly be applied to
Providing for the child:
The Qur'an makes it clear that a fetus must not be aborted because the family
fear that they will not be able to provide for it - they should trust Allah to look after
things: Kill not your offspring for fear of poverty; it is We who provide for them and for
you. Surely, killing them is a great sin. Qur'an 17:32

Birth Control Pills 101- What You Absolutely Need To Know
By Mansi Gupta

The alarming increase in the population because of the stationary birth rates and
the ever lowering death rates of the countries brought about by the economical an
social development has imposed a need to lower the birth rates. There are also
certain social stigmas which are to be overcome to reduce the birth rates for e.g. till
recently in certain parts of the world the birth control pills were not socially
accepted. But since their introduction they have placed themselves into a
commanding position into ones family life.

History of birth control pills
The term birth control pill is usually referred to the group of drugs used by females
to avoid pregnancy. In 1955 a couple of scientists, introduced the concept of birth
control pills when they used progestins for birth control. Before that people used to
try things like condoms, diaphragms, sponges and even avoiding sexual intercourse
at the time of the fertile period. The latter had its disadvantages with its efficiency
being very low as compared with the former ones. Later it was also found that
adding estrogens made them more efficient.
Types of birth control pills
Because of the great success and the increased demand of the birth control pills
there has been extensive research in this field and hence there are different types of
the pills available to cater different population. Broadly there are 4 types of birth
control pills and besides these are certain injections used for long-term birth
control. The 4 types are:
1) Combined pills
This type consists of both estrogen and progestin. This is the most common type of
pills used today. This is a set of 28 pills to be taken daily.
2) Phased regimen pills
Now been used rarely and only for those greater than 35 years of age.
3) Minipill
Females who cannot take estrogen for some reason or the other can take this type of
pill wherein there is no estrogen.
4) Postcoital or emergency pills
This is used to avoid pregnancy in those cases in which the females can become
pregnant because of unprotected sexual intercourse. This is to be taken within 3
days of the sexual intercourse.
Effectiveness and other advantages
Because of their main action on hormonal changes these pills are much more
effective, some studies lay the figures of 10 times, than the traditional methods.
There is also more patient compliance as they are not to be used only at the time of
the sexual intercourse. Moreover they can be used in crowded home situations.
Side effects
They may cause certain side effects such as nausea, weight changes, breakthrough
bleeding, blood glucose disturbance, mood swings, hypertension, clot formation in
leg and lung veins and some genital carcinomas but the incidence is very less. So a
specialist should thoroughly examine the case before being prescribed.
They should not be prescribed in subjects having some liver disease, suspected
certain gynecological cancers, clotting disease, etc.
Male birth control pills
There are also certain male birth control pills available in the market such as
gossypol as well as in research stage but both because of the patient non-compliance
and because of their less effectiveness and various side effects, they are not as
popular as the female birth control pills.

Article Source:

History of birth control pills
The term birth control pill is usually referred to the group of drugs used by females
to avoid pregnancy. In 1955 a couple of scientists, introduced the concept of birth
control pills when they used progestins for birth control. Before that people used to
try things like condoms, diaphragms, sponges and even avoiding sexual intercourse
at the time of the fertile period. The latter had its disadvantages with its efficiency
being very low as compared with the former ones. Later it was also found that
adding estrogens made them more efficient.
Types of birth control pills
Because of the great success and the increased demand of the birth control pills
there has been extensive research in this field and hence there are different types of
the pills available to cater different population. Broadly there are 4 types of birth
control pills and besides these are certain injections used for long-term birth
control. The 4 types are:
1) Combined pills
This type consists of both estrogen and progestin. This is the most common type of
pills used today. This is a set of 28 pills to be taken daily.
2) Phased regimen pills
Now been used rarely and only for those greater than 35 years of age.
3) Minipill
Females who cannot take estrogen for some reason or the other can take this type of
pill wherein there is no estrogen.
4) Postcoital or emergency pills
This is used to avoid pregnancy in those cases in which the females can become
pregnant because of unprotected sexual intercourse. This is to be taken within 3
days of the sexual intercourse.
Effectiveness and other advantages
Because of their main action on hormonal changes these pills are much more
effective, some studies lay the figures of 10 times, than the traditional methods.
There is also more patient compliance as they are not to be used only at the time of
the sexual intercourse. Moreover they can be used in crowded home situations.
Side effects
They may cause certain side effects such as nausea, weight changes, breakthrough
bleeding, blood glucose disturbance, mood swings, hypertension, clot formation in
leg and lung veins and some genital carcinomas but the incidence is very less. So a
specialist should thoroughly examine the case before being prescribed.
They should not be prescribed in subjects having some liver disease, suspected
certain gynecological cancers, clotting disease, etc.
Male birth control pills
There are also certain male birth control pills available in the market such as
gossypol as well as in research stage but both because of the patient non-compliance
and because of their less effectiveness and various side effects, they are not as
popular as the female birth control pills.
Mansi gupta writes about birth control pills topics.
Article Source:


Sex and Love
Smell Sexy
Female Sexual Dsfunction
Bacterial Vaginosis

Smell Sexy
Can you make yourself smell sexy? How much does the sense of smell factor into
love, sex, and attractiveness? From food smells to body odor, studies have found
that some fragrances turn women and men on and can improve intimacy and sex.
Studies: Men, Women, the Nose and Sex
Though the sense of smell plays a sometimes mysterious role in sex, what the nose
knows and its impact on sexual attractiveness is undeniable.
Studies on the role of aromas in attractiveness and romance have found that:
women prefer the smell of men whose genetics are similar but not too
similar to their own
men prefer women's body odor during the time of the month when they are
ovulating women prefer the smell of "dominant men"
women look an average of six years younger to men when the scent of
grapefruit is present while the men view the women's photos
Studies in 1998 and 2006 by Alan Hirsch of The Smell & Taste Treatment Research
Foundation reported that:
all 26 aromas tested caused some increase in blood flow to male sex organs
men were most aroused (40% more blood flow) by the smells of lavender
and pumpkin pie; and by doughnuts and licorice (31.5%)
traditional perfume or "floral fragrances" give only a 3% increase
women found some aromas stimulating, while others actually shut down
blood flow to genitalia
women showed the most sexual response to the fragrances of licorice candy,
cucumber, baby powder (each 13%); pumpkin pie and lavender (11%)
women were actually turned off by the smells of men's cologne, barbequed
meat and cherries
How Does the Link Between Smell and Sexuality Work?
It has been speculated that the connection between sex and aromas is as simple as
happiness. If a smell makes you calmer or more confident, it may naturally
contribute to loving feelings towards others, as well as more patience and tact.

Read more:

Oh La La Scents
Smells that make people feel good about themselves may make them feel sexier and
hornier. They may also lower inhibitions.
Some essential oils are known for their ability to help balance both sexual and
thyroid hormones. These aromas may work on a physical level to boost the
biological factors in romance and sex. Other essential oils stimulate the brain
centers relating to the emotions.
Essential Oils for Romance and Sexuality
Several essentials oil are famed aphrodisiacs, boosting and enhancing the sex drive:
ylang ylang balances sexual emotions with physical sex drive
nutmeg supports the nervous system and hormone balance
For women:
clary sage
For men:
in keeping with the finding that pumpkin pie is a major turn-on for men,
spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper have long been used as male
Essential Science Publishing (ESP), Essential Oils Desk Reference, Second Edition;
Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry, Essential Oils for Physical, Emotional and Spiritual
Health; 2005.
Smell & Taste Treatment Research Foundation, accessed January 15, 2008

Read more:

Odd smells that turn us on

Unusual scents are found to arouse
Caitlin Gray

For some, its a smell that triggers a memory--the AXE that your junior high
boyfriend bathed in before French-kissing you at the bowling alley, or the fun-in-
the-sun scent of coconut sunscreen that brings you back to your first spring break
hook-up. Lots of scents turn us on, but youre not going to believe what these
researchers found.
In the 90s, The Smell and Taste Research Foundation conducted a few arousal
studies. During one study, they hooked up 31 guys to machines that measured
penile blood flow increase after exposure to 30 different odors and odor
combinations. Which smells turned guys on the most?
Third place went to a combination of doughnuts and pumpkin pie. This makes sense
to me. If there is one lesson I have learned from Jessica Simpsons bath products, its
that it can be very sexy to smell like dessert.
The second place scent was pumpkin pie mixed with black licorice. This surprised
me because I find black licorice more polarizing than the upcoming election. People
either really love it or really hate it. I guess the majority of these guys loved it
enough to increase penile blood flow. Should I scatter black magic markers around
my bedroom? Perhaps.
The No. 1 scent that turned guys on big time was pumpkin pie mixed with lavender
Oh you heard me right. Pumpkin pie and lavender. Two items found in every
grandmas house. This whole time I have been taking my guy to Agent Provocateur
to turn him on, when all I really had to do was push him into the potpourri aisle at
Michaels. And who knew Thanksgiving was like, this hot sexy holiday? My favorite
data fact from research was, No odor diminished male arousal. I was like, Really?
No odor? Poopy diaper--still turned on? Bigfoots nutsack? Still rock hard? Now
that, I admire.
The womens results were equally startling. Pumpkin pie and lavender was number
three, followed by, and I am not making this up, Good n Plenty candy mixed with
banana nut bread.
Number one was Good & Plenty candy mixed with cucumber! That scent tied with,
get this, baby powder. Again, I am incredulous! I just cant imagine snuggling up to
some guy and breathing in baby powder and getting turned on. However, cucumber
and banana nut bread seemed equally weird, until I thought about the fact that the
guy I am with is a chef! Did all of those food scents he surrounds himself with
somehow draw me in and get me hooked?
Why did researchers focus so much on food smells? In an earlier study, the smell of
cinnamon buns kicked out every other smell. That led researchers to explore
potentially sexy food smells more carefully. They postulated that some smells are
more comforting, and that this causes subjects to relax and perhaps be more open to
The good news is that you can buy all of these scents and see if they work! Urbbody
cleverly makes both a pumpkin pie and lavender and pumpkin pie and licorice solid
perfume! Demeter, everyones go-to brand for obscure and endearing scents, can
help you layer nearly all of the smells mentioned above and, while they dont have a
Good & Plenty perfume, they do have Junior Mint, which is worth researching! You
may still be able to track down banana nut bread bath delights from Philosophy, and
they still have pumpkin pie bath products, for sure.

Article slightly modified

Sex and Love
Influence of Religion
While religion has influenced the attitudes of society towards sex and love
throughout history, the relationship between them has not followed a consistent
The union of the Classical and Jewish worlds saw a significant transformation.
Distinct from Paganism, the Christian world regarded sex as a deadly sin, as
opposed to a life-giving act. The Book of Genesis tarnished views of sex, instigating
shame of nakedness.
Paul, the disciple, delivered a powerful message by excluding homosexuals or
prostitutes from the Kingdom of God. Through his vision, any unmarried sex was
considered sinful. Control of sexual attitudes by the Church was reinforced in the
fourth century AD, when priests were given the power to forgive confessed sins.
The aversion to sex by early Christian leaders extended to marriage being viewed as
a crime against God. Opposition to marriage diminished in the Middle Ages, as the
Church grew more secure. But sex was still viewed with disapproval, even within
marriage. It was not until the mid 16th century that marriage was recognised as a
church ritual.
Men and Women
The position of men and women in relation to sex and love has fluctuated. The
mythology of Ancient Egypt was based on equilibrium between two forces, such as
day and night, or men and women. With such equality, sexual love was viewed
positively for both genders.
The words of the Book of Genesis negatively impacted on women, with their role as
life-giver no longer celebrated. Instead, they were condemned as the cause of evil.
Men dominated during the Iron Age, with sexual relations characterised by
masculine power. Christians regarded the world as belonging to men, with females
inferior; the property of males. Intriguingly, it was the influence of Islam, concealing
and yet honouring women, which improved European attitudes.
In the 15th century, the untamed sexual desires of women were blamed for the
appearance of syphilis. In 1495, a German prostitute was savagely whipped and her
fingers were chopped off as punishment for her lustful activities.
While the church continued to reinforce the sinful stereotype of Eve, Elena emerged
to threaten these ideals. With the realisation that sex and power were intertwined,
Elena had a love affair that led to her marrying the King of England. She strived to
achieve a status beyond equality for women; desirable and yet slightly out of reach.
Noble men still undertook violent physical contact with other men, and yet their
objective changed. They now fought in order to win a ladys heart.
Traditions and Customs
Pyramids and temples were built long ago, in the context of sexual activity.
Currently accepted values are also overtly contrasted to past United States
legislation, which was not altered until 1889. The age of consent in most states was
as young as ten, with Delaware stipulating a mere age seven. Some laws still in force
today show an unusual attempt to control sex lives, with Washington DC prohibiting
sex in any position other than missionary.
In the past, the Roman State also had an interest in the sex lives of the people. Men
were encouraged to marry Italian women. Perceived as a duty, this lost its appeal,
causing the blonde slave girls to appear more attractive. Many women aspired to
this common perception of sexiness by dying their hair. This is one ideal that has
been somewhat perpetuated to this day.
Italy is also the birthplace of a significant trend in the history of love. The literary
movement of romance originated from the language of the Romans, and tales of love
replaced heroic battles during the supremacy of Elena.
Domination by the Romans was preceded by the decline of the Greek Empire. In
Ancient Greece, love and sex were completely separate. Greek men kept their wives
in the respectability of home, while seeking fulfilment of their sexual needs through
slaves and courtesans.
Despite the sexual repression that exists today, we are constantly surrounded by
images of sex. Large corporations and marketing departments utilise it as a
manipulative selling device.
The aim of sexual advertisements is to create dissatisfaction; wanting something
that we cannot have. While the item being marketed is within our grasp, the
glamorous life that is portrayed may not be.
The commercialisation of sex has occurred throughout history and the licensing of
brothels was initiated in 1161 in order to regulate the trade in Britain. The Bishop of
Winchester owned many brothels, despite his disapproval of sex - his religious
convictions were seemingly not strong enough to prevent the pursuit of profit.
Falsifying Sex
Erotic objects from the ancient past have been hidden away since their discovery.
These sealed collections are only now being opened to the public.
With sexual desire being viewed as an illness, an attempt to quash sexual appetites
was made by Dr. Kellogg, who invented cornflakes. They were initially lacking in
popularity due to the anti-libido effect resulting in little taste. Improving the flavour
inevitably sacrificed the intended result.

Article slightly modified.


Q: I think that mine is too small.

A: The average male erect penis length is 5.1 inches. Note that this is not an issue for
most women. They only are concerned when it is too big.

Typically, this concern is expressed by young boys (age 12). They have a tendency to
get fixated on this piece of their anatomy.
Men who are concerned about this are often expressing their insecurity in other
ways as well. They need to deal with issues of self-worth or perhaps more serious
psychological issues. Having a larger/longer penis doesnt offer any biological
advantage. Therapist find that men who strongly express this concern typically
objectify women. These men are only interested in sex - not looking for

Condometric condoms. These are the first love gloves with a ruler on the side to let
her know just how deep you'll be drilling. They come in both inches and
centimeters, in case you hook up with someone from Europe or Canada, or basically
anywhere but the US.

Q: I have a bunch of little white bumps on the side of my penis. Should I be

A: No, as long as they dont hurt, dont change, or generally dont do anything. These
are pearly penile papules which appear around puberty. They are little white
bumps, usually symmetrical, and usually around the base. If you are sexually active,
then they may be warts and ought to be check out by a doctor.

Q: I curve a little is that normal?

A: It is only abnormal if there is any pain or dysfunction involved. The vast majority
of men have a slight curvature. Note that the medical procedure that straightens it
out also shortens it.

Q: Is it normal to have different sized balls.

A: Yes, it is completely normal. However, if you find any sudden change in size or if
one feels harder than the other (like a rock), then it could need medical attention.

Q: I am a little insecure about my performance.

A: Our sexuality is a big part of ourselves. For men, this culture perpetuates that
insecurity. Many men feel like their identity is wrapped around their ability to
perform. However, most women just want their guy to be happy.
Its like this: A man a woman go out to play a round of mini-golf. If the women loses,
she doesnt care. If the guy loses, hes pissed and the evening is ruined.

Q: Masturbation?
It cannot be stopped anyway.

A: When is it unhealthy? If it is pulling you away from other productive activities or
relationships then it is unhealthy. If you find that you continue to masturbate
through physical pain or even when you dont want to then you should see a
professional. Sometimes, people resort to this as a means to avoid intimacy (you
could make a true connection to someone, but you risk getting hurt). Again, those
feelings need to be explored with a therapist.

It is not a substitute for sex. It is a myth to say that masturbation is something
people do when they cant get any sex.

Q: Do penis pumps work?

A: No. The most basic proof is the fact that they cost $39. If they actually worked,
then they would cost $3,900. The theory may seem correct if you put a suction
device on your finger, you are going to get some swelling, however, your penis may
require a surgeon to drain the blood. Be happy with whatever size you have over
one that is twice as big yet doesnt work.

Also, there is a rumor that these devices can cause the penis to explode. Again, not

Q: What are most women insecure about?

A: Many women will talk candidly to each other about their menstrual cycle and
other personal matters, however, they dont consistently discuss normal sexual
functioning. Therefore, they tend to develop many personal issues around what they
think is right and wrong often without validation from medical sources.

Also, many women remain insecure about their body. They may want to hide under
the sheets and keep the lights off. It is important for women to know that guys are
extremely happy to have a naked female around. Remember that they are visually
stimulated, so letting them see you will be a major turn-on for them.

Men should remember that women are insecure about their body shapes, so if the
man wants to be intimate with her, he needs to constantly reassure her how much
he enjoys her curves. He should also know that if he says anything (in the least) to
the contrary, especially as the woman undresses for him, then he can cause long-
term damage to her self-worth.

Q: What about women who are insecure due to their inability to achieve orgasm?

A: Women are not neuro-cognitively developed at a young age to understand what
kinds of feelings cause them to climax. Whereas for men, it is purely physical action.
Many women, will not figure out how to orgasm until they are well into their 20s, if
ever. Women need to invest the time in understanding themselves. Too often, they
get frustrated and dismiss the entire process. Men can help women by creating a
strong emotional connection and then facilitating direct clitoral stimulation.

The Washington Post recently published a study with a headline: In a double
whammy for the female gender, new research shows that 40 percent of women
report sexual problems, but only 12 percent are distressed about it. Some details
from the study include; 39 percent of women reported diminished desire, 26
percent reported problems with arousal, and 21 percent problems with achieving

Q. Is it OK to fake an orgasm?

A: There are 2 sides to this story:

- Absolutely. There are some things that (some) guys really dont care about. If
you are not in the mood or just want to let him have his fun, then your
acting skills will go a long way to ensure his happiness.

- Never. Women need to be empowered to enjoy the acts as much as men do. It
does not need to happen at the same time, but women should ensure that
they get something too. If your guy can handle the truth, then make sure he
knows that its not over till you are singing.

Q. What is the G-Spot?

What is it?
For many women, it's a highly sensitive, highly erotic area that provides hours of
pleasure. For others it's a knobbly bit that, when touched too much, creates an
overwhelming sensation of needing a wee. Some women can't feel any sensation at
all while others don't seem to have one at all.
There are a number of different theories about what the G-spot or area actually is.
One view is that it is an area of prostatic tissue similar to the male prostate. The
absence of the Y chromosome in the developing female fetus deposits the cells in a
similar location and voila - the G-spot. Complete with a similar type of sensitivity to
the male prostate
Another expert agrees with the prostate theory but expands it to say that this is not
the only reason for sensitivity. He points to the clitoris and the urethra as other
sources of pleasure, both of which can be stimulated via the front wall of the vagina.
Therefore there are a number of erogenous zones and we should stop seeking the
elusive g-spot and instead rename it the anterior wall erogenous complex - catchy!
A further expert who was first responsible for publicising the G-spot has recently
discovered another use. In research she has shown that stimulation of the G-spot
area can increase pain threshold by up to 47%. If the stimulation is arousing, the
pain threshold increases by up to 84% and a massive 107% on orgasm. Her
hypothesis is that this sensitive and erogenous area is one of natures natural
painkillers for childbirth.
So there you go. Basically, we still dont know for sure - but the important thing is to
find out what youve got and what you like.
What to do with it
Once you've established whether you've got one or not, you need to discover
whether you have one that gives you pleasure or just feels a bit annoying. Stroking is
usually the most enjoyable form of stimulation.
It's important that you're sexually aroused first, and also worth noting that many
women say sensitivity varies throughout the month.
During stimulation, the first sensation might be the need to go to the loo, possibly
because the G-spot is on the front wall so your bladder is being pushed. You can
check this out by making sure your bladder's empty first then seeing how it feels.
The first couple of times it might be a bit odd, but many women say a little
perseverance is more than worth it.
Feeling it during intercourse
Depending on the size and exact location of your G-spot, you may or may not be able
to feel stimulation during intercourse. You're most likely to feel something if you
have your pelvis raised.
Another popular position is to be on all fours or bending over from a standing
position and allowing penetration from behind. You'll need to experiment.
Female ejaculation
Some women say they ejaculate when their G-spot is stimulated. Research has
shown that approximately 10 per cent of women expel between 9ml and 900 ml of
fluid from the urethra during arousal and orgasm. A group of scientists examined
some of this ejaculatory fluid and discovered prostatic enzymes, fuelling the theory
that the G-spot is the equivalent of the male prostate.
However, another group of scientists examined the fluid and said it was very similar
to urine. Latest thoughts are that the fluid is an altered form of urine that changes in
chemical composition due to sexual arousal. The research continues.
A final word on the subject
Remember, we're all unique. You may have a sensitive G-spot or you may not. If you
want to explore, do it light-heartedly. Don't turn it into the Holy Grail; there are
many, many ways to enjoy your sexuality, and the G-spot is just one of them.

Q: Im nervous. What if something happens, err what if it doesnt happen?

A:It will happen fast. She will not enjoy it, however, if she tells you that you are a
RockStar, then you ought to keep her. If it doesnt happen, then try again later. You
have your whole life ahead of you.

Q. I didnt bleed or experience any pain the first time. Is that normal?

A: A small amount of blood may typically come when the hymen is ruptured. It is a
membrane inside the vagina. It may be uncomfortable when it is broken. However, it
is NOT the litmus test of virginity. A womans hymen can rupture from horseback-
riding, running, or even walking up stairs. Sometimes, there may be some blood
associated with that rupture, but certainly not always. On the other hand, some
women may have a thicker hymen which makes the vagina impenetrable (or too
painful to do so on your own). A doctor can assist.

Q: I think I fell asleep afterwards without making ghusul. Is that ok?

A: Of course.

Female Sexual Dsfunction
Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD): Classification & Definitions
Four Major Types of FSD:
Sexual Desire Disorders
Sexual Arousal Disorder
Orgasmic Disorder
Sexual Pain Disorders

Types of FSD:
Generalized Sexual Arousal Disorder
Genital Arousal Disorder
Missed Arousal
Deny subjective arousal; are not aroused by mental,
genital, and nongenital physical stimuli, but have normal
genital congestive responses to sexual stimuli.
Dysphoric Arousal
Acknowledge some subjective or genital sensations in
response to sexual stimuli but intensely dislike them (and
generally disassociate or cease the stimulation).
Anhedonic Arousal
Have healthy genital congestive responses to sexual stimuli
but awareness of subjective arousal or genital response is
accompanied by neither pleasure nor particularly negative
Basson R. Clinical Updates in Womens Health Care:
Sexuality and Sexual Disorders. ACOG 2003;11(2):22-32.

Orgasmic Disorders:
- Primary-Lifelong-Never had Orgasm
-Secondary-Acquired-Previously Orgasmic
-Hypo-orgasmic-Increased Latent Phase +/or Decreased Intensity
Female Orgasmic Disorder (DSM-IV)
_ Persistent or recurrent delay in, or
absence of, orgasm following a normal
excitement phase.
Basson R. Clinical Updatdes iins Wtormeesnss H eoalrth iCnaret:erpersonal
Sexuality and Sexual Disorders. ACOG 2003;11(2):22-32.

Sexual Pain Disorders:
Dyspareunia (DSM-IV)
Recurrent or persistent genital pain associated with sexual intercourse
The disturbance causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty
Vaginismus (DSM-IV)
Recurrent or persistent involuntary spasm of the musculature of the outer third of
the vagina that interferes with sexual intercourse
Noncoital Sexual Pain Disorder
Recurrent or persistent genital pain associated
with noncoital sexual stimulation.
Basson R. Clinical Updates in Womens Health Care:
Sexuality and Sexual Disorders. ACOG 2003;11(2):22-32.
Diagnostic Workup
ASK You cannot treat a problem if you do not
know that one exists
Sample screening questions
Are you satisfied with your sexual response (sex life)? If not why not?
Desire, lubrication, pain, and orgasm?
Are you currently active with a sexual partner?
Men, women or both.
Frequency (activity including masturbation).
How often do you have difficulty _______?
What questions or problems related to sex would you like to discuss:?
TELL Your doctor cannot help if he or she does not know that there is a problem.

Complete History and Physical
Chief Complaint
Past History-Allergies, Meds**,PMH, PSH
OB HX-25% of women who experience childbirth will never recover their sexual
function to prechildbirth levels
SHX-Tobacco, ETOH, Drugs
Comprehensive PE including sexolgical pelvic exam-Atrophy, Clitoral Phimosis etc
Comprehensive Sexual History
Validated Psychometric Questionnaires
FSFI-Female Sexual Function Index*
FSDS-Female Sexual Distress Scale**
SIDI-Sexual Interest and Desire Inventory***
Profile of Female Sexual Function****
Completed Pre and Post Treatment to track
progress objectively
* Rosen et al. 2000 J Sex Marital Ther,
**Derogatis et al. 2002 J Sex Marital Ther,
***Clayton et al. 2005 J Sex Marital Ther,
****Mchorney et al. 2004 Menopause
Specialized Testing
Biothesiometry-Used to objectively test vulvar and clitoral
vibratory sensation*
MS, Peripheral Neuropathy, Lumbar Radiculopathy can cause
sensory deficit
Color Duplex Doppler Ultrasound Citoral, corpus
spongiosum blood flow, volume- Pre and Post stimulation
Labial and Vaginal Photoplethysmography Used to test
genital blood flow- Pre and Post stimulation
MRI-Genital Changes During Sexual Arousal
BOLD fMRI-Visualize Brain Regions During Cognitive Sexual Arousal

Hormone Testing-Blood or Saliva
Androgens-DHEAS, Androstenedione, Testosterone-Total, Bound, & Free, DHT,
SHBG (Draw at about 8am)
Progesterone-(Draw Day 23 of Cylce in Premenopausal Female)
Gonadotropins-FSH & LH

Blood Testing
Serum Lipid Panel-T-Chol, HDL, LDL,
Triglycerides, T-Chol/HDL Ratio
<4.5 (Fasting x 8-12 Hrs)
CNS Neurotransmitters and Sexual Response
Serotonin via 5-hydroxytriptamine 1A
Serotonin via 5-hydroxytriptamine 2C
Alpha Melanocyte Peptide
Sexually Negative
Serotonin via most receptors
Gamma amino butyric acid
Sexual Response-Others
Nitric Oxide
VIP-Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
Pheromones-isolated in animals but not yet in humans
Physician Responsibility When Treating off-label:
Tell the patient it is a non FDAapproved treatment
Tell the patient that the treatment is experimental and that long-term
safety has not been officially established
Discuss risks, benefits and possible SEs
Androgens Available
Testosterone subcutaneous pellets
Doses too high for women
Testosterone intramuscular injections
Testosterone patches
Testosterone gels
Compounded Creams-Custom Med Apothecary
Oral androgens
Oral androgen precursors
A. Guay, M.D. FACP, FACE, ISSWSH 2005
Testosterone IM Injection
Injectable testosterone esters
Enanthate, Cypionate (100 or 200 mg/ml)
Kinetics are exactly the same
At 1/10th the dose=0.1cc or 10 mg q 2 weeks
Problem: levels go above normal and end below normal
Compounded Bio-identical / Natural Hormone Creams
Natural Testosterone Cream
DHEA Cream (Androgen Precursor)
Advantage: Custom made to patient
needs and levels. One size does not
fit all and nobody well!!
Custom Med Aptohecary, Jeff and Angie
Jackson Proprietors, 5510 Lafayette Rd. Ste
260 Indpls IN 46254
Managing Androgen Levels
Keep Testosterone levels in normal range
Bioavailable testosterone
1.0-14.3 ng/dl
Free Androgen Index
2.0-3.0 (age 30-49)
3.7-5.0 (age 20-29)
Testosterone Treatment Safety Data,
Shifren et al. NEJM v343 pp682-688, 2000

Pain Disorders
Superficial Dyspareunia
Systemic Oxalate reduction, local estradiol, oral guafenesin,
local anesthetic jelly, PELVIC FLOOR PHYSICAL THERAPY, Vestibulectomy
Vulvodynia-Centrally acting agents TCAs, SNRI, Anticonvulsants
(Gabapentin, Carbamazepine), Neurontin, PELVIC FLOOR PHYSICAL
Atrophy-Topical Estradiol
Deep Dyspareunia-DX and TX Underlying Condition
Ovarian Cysts
PID-Acute and Chronic
Intestitial Cysitis

Bacterial Vaginosis
Male Sexual Dysfunction:
An Interview With Dr. Sandor Gardos

Dr. Sandor Gardos, the founder and President of MyPleasure. A licensed clinical
psychologist and board-certified sexologist, Dr. Gardos has seen thousands of patients
whose concerns run the full gamut of human sexual experience, from both the clinical
and emotional sides of sexuality.
The author of over 100 articles, chapters, presentations, books [1], and other
publications, Dr. Gardos' expertise in matters of sexuality is often called upon not only
by universities worldwide, where he is a frequent lecturer and visiting professor, but
also by the courts, for whom he often serves as an expert witness. After receiving
numerous e-mail questions about male sexuality and sexual dysfunction, we decided to
ask this sexuality expert for his opinion on a few male-oriented topics.

QUESTION: From what I've heard, there are a number of different types of male
sexual dysfunctions. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the more common

ANSWER: Basically, you can divide or classify most sexual disorders into one of
several groups:
Erectile dysfunctions are any disorder in which a man has a problem obtaining or
maintaining an erection Orgasmic disorders have to do with orgasm -- some men
find it very hard to have an orgasm or can't have one at all, but this is fairly
uncommon Much more often, men will complain they can't last as long without
ejaculating as they or their partner would like, a condition known as premature
ejaculation or, more correctly, ejaculatory incompetence. Finally, there are desire
disorders in which a man just does not feel "horny" or does not want to have sex [2].
It's not that he has a problem getting physically aroused; he just doesn't want to put
himself in a sexual situation. Each of these disorders can be caused by
physical, medical [3], pharmacological, or psychological conditions -- or all of the
above. In fact, men most often experience a combination of several different
conditions and dysfunctions, and it is not unusual for one form of sexual dysfunction
to lead to the other.
Many of these disorders can also be a sign of another illness, such as diabetes [4]. So
the first step is always to make sure there is no physical problem.
As with any medical [3] condition, it is important that men speak to their physicians
about any kind of sexual dysfunction. Even if the doctor thinks it is probably
psychological, a physical condition can also contribute to the problem.

QUESTION: Traditionally, only women have been thought to suffer from lack of
sexual desire. Can men really experience it, too?

ANSWER: In our society, it is often thought that men are always ready, able, and
willing to have sex [2] at any time, with anyone. This is far from the truth. The
reality is that everyone has different "appetites" when it comes to sex [2], just as
they do with food. Sometimes, people don't have the appetite for sex [2], men as
well as women. We think of this situation as lack of sexual desire, low libido, or
decreased sex [2] drive.
Lack of sexual desire only becomes a problem when the man or his partner is
unhappy with the situation, or what is known as a "desire discrepancy," the number-
one condition seen by sex [2] therapists. As most therapists will tell you, it is equally
common for the man or the woman to be the one with lower desire.
Remember, there is no "correct" amount of sex [2] to have or desire. Yes, there are
norms, but what really matters is whether you and your partner are in harmony
about how often you have sex [2].

QUESTION: I know many therapists differ in their views on sexual addiction. Do you
consider sexual addiction a form of sexual dysfunction? Why or why not?

ANSWER: Like many sexologists, I do not subscribe to the concept of sexual
"addiction." I do believe that people can develop a compulsive or obsessive
approach to sex [2], but I think the term "addiction" should be reserved for those
things that meet the usual medical [3] criteria for such conditions.
To say that someone who masturbates 10 times a day is an "addict" is a moral
judgment, not a scientific one. Similarly, someone who has sex [2]twice a day can be
just as healthy as someone who has sex [2] once a week. It is all very subjective.
Those little "tests" you see that claim to tell you whether you are a sex [2] addict are
worthless. I have rarely met anyone who doesn't meet criteria based on them. When
I see a patient who thinks he is suffering from sexual addictions, I ask questions
such as:
1. Do you feel like you have to have sex [2]?
2. Do have sex [2] even though you may not enjoy it?
3. Have you lost your job because of your desire for sex [2]?
4. Has your sexual appetite affected your relationships [5]?
5. Do you frequently decide not to go out with friends or family, preferring to
indulge in sexual activity?
6. Is this behavior making you unhappy?
If a patient answers "Yes" to one or more of these questions, then we look at the
source of the problem, rather than just labeling the patient as a "sex addict" and
sending him to a recovery group.

QUESTION: What is your opinion of Viagra?

ANSWER: Viagra was an amazing invention. It was the first highly
effective medical [3] treatment for erectile disorders that did not require painful
medical [3] procedures or cumbersome devices. You just take a pill, and boom.
However, Viagra is a prescription drug and should not be taken indiscriminately.
It is very important that anyone experiencing erectile difficulties gets properly
evaluated by a physician. Viagra is not a cure-all. In fact, it can mask other
underlying problems, whether medical [3] or psychological. In an ideal world, a man
would first be examined by a physician, and then meet with a sex [2] therapist if
physical reasons are ruled out.
As far as all these versions of "herbal Viagra" that have popped up in the last few
years, the vast majority is completely worthless. Save your money [6].

QUESTION: Can men really increase their penis size through exercises [7]? What
about "grow larger" creams . . . do those work [6] at all?

ANSWER: No, no, and NO. The ONLY way to increase penis size permanently is
through surgery, which I strongly discourage. The surgery is an experimental,
dangerous, painful procedure with numerous side effects and serious risks and
consequences. Many men are quite unhappy with the results, and there is no going
In fact, the College of Cosmetic and Restorative Surgeons has come out very strongly
against penile lengthening operations and said that none of its members should
perform the procedure except in extreme cases. It's far better to learn
to love [8] what you have and learn how to use it.

QUESTION: Finally . . . our most-often asked question: Do penis pumps
really work [6]?

ANSWER It depends how you define "work." Yes, you might be able to make
yourself more fully erect and thus maybe a little larger, but penis pumps do not
cause a permanent increase in size.
Penis pumps force extra blood into the penis by creating a vacuum. Many men and
their partners enjoy the sensation and the extra feeling of "fullness." However, the
results are short-lived. In order to keep the blood in the penis and sustain the
"larger" appearance, you would have to use an erection ring in conjunction with a
penis pump. Just remember to never leave one in place for more than 30 minutes, or
you could create a dangerous situation.
MyPleasure [9] is dedicated to improving people's lives by providing them access to the
best sexual health [10] information and sensual enhancement products available.

Source URL:



Water-based lubricants:
Jelly/Silicone lubricants:
- PROS: lasts longer and doesnt dry out, stays slick in water/sweat
- CONS: harder to clean-up, degrade condom latex, not recommended for vaginal

- Do not use oil-based lubes. Petroleum jelly, body creams, and hand lotions
were not made for sexual purposes and may cause vaginal infections.
- Explore different lubes to find out what works best for you.
- Lubricants also come in a variety of flavors.
- For easy clean-up, choose a colorless formula so it will wash out of sheets,
sofas, or anywhere else.
- Use a warm washcloth to wipe it off yourself/partner.
- Keep a clean towel within arms reach.
- Remember, you can never use too much lube.


Trouble in Paradise: How a New Baby Tests a Marriage

By: Laura Roe Stevens
I vividly remember how stressed my husband was when I was pregnant in 2001. As
my belly expanded, so did his stress level, mainly concerning finances. He helped
found a technology start-up two years earlier that rode the roller coaster ride of the boom and crash and my pregnancy came at the tail endwhen he was
forced to lay off lots of his friends and colleagues and eventually sell the business. It
was a stressful time in general; many of our talented friends in California were
suddenly faced with pink slips as companies and magazines were closing down
everywhere we turned. It certainly was the closest Ive experienced to a real
depression. So, I chocked up all our stress that first year of my sons life to the times
we were facinguntil I read something extraordinary. Sixty-seven percent of couples
come close to divorce during the first three years of a new babys life.
In the first few months after babys arrival, between 40 to 70 percent of couples
experience stress, profound conflict, and drops in marital satisfaction, according to
a series of studies conducted over the past thirteen years by The Gottman Institute,
a Seattle-based organization co-founded by best-selling authors and psychologists
Drs. John and Julie Schwartz Gottman. The Gottman Institute provides couple
workshops and individual therapy; they also train mental health professionals. It is
most famous, however, for its research-based studies conducted in its love lab that
came to fame in the Gottmans best-selling book The Seven Principals for Making
Marriage Work.
Their latest research effort is focused on couple dissatisfaction in the years
immediately after having a baby and is outlined in their current book: And Baby
Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling
Romance After Baby Arrives.
Two-thirds of all parents are significantly dissatisfied in the first year of a new
childs life. How can you be in the other one-third? asks Carolyn Pirak, director of
The Bringing Baby Home project, affiliated with Gottmans Relationship Institute.
Their research finds that most new moms are unhappy in the first four months of a
babys life. Dads, however, are unhappy typically when a baby turns nine months old
and dads stay unhappy well into their childs second year. By the time their child is
three, half of the two-thirds [of couples found dissatisfied in the first year of
parenthood] are miserable and well on their way to divorce, Pirak explains.
Some reasons for this include sleep deprivation, irritability, and lack of intimacy and
desirewomens sex drives slow way down through the first three years of a childs
When I think about it, as sad as this information may be, its not actually that
shocking. I recall how I received the news that a family member was divorcing her
husband when her first child was just one year old. I was so worried that she was
too hormonal to be making a good, rational decision. But Im learning that its likely
to do with a lot more than hormones.
Having children is a complete transformation. Roles change and a different
paradigm is created. They also have to adapt to the 24/7 care of a demanding
newborn. It can be a real shockespecially if one partner is expecting something
different from the other, says Pirak.
With this in mind, the Gottmans created a workshop for couples of infants to help
prepare them for the years to come and give them strategies to deal with the stress,
conflict, and lack of intimacy that follow having a child. For instance, couples learn
before they are sleep-deprived and clinically depressed to be aware that they will be
in this state after months of little sleep. They also learn to deal with conflict in more
conducive ways by not getting contemptuous and not criticizing one another when
To test the effects of this two-day workshop, The Bringing Baby Home project
embarked on a remarkable study following 159 couples with 168 children for six
years after attending a Gottman workshop.
The study, conducted in Sweden between 1999 and 2005, found that if couples are
given an opportunity to explore issues and prepare for how parenthood changes
their relationships, they will have a much better chance of staying together.
This was the only research-based and tested study of couples with children that Im
aware of and it was a huge success! Out of 159 couples (who attended the two-day
workshop) only one couple got divorced six years later and all others reported
higher levels of happiness. And, there was even a 22.5 percent drop in the (typical)
incidence of post-partum depression that we usually see, Pirak explains.
Due to the success of this first study, The Bringing Baby Home project now offers the
same workshop expanded into a six- or eight-week series. The larger series teaches
the same tenants such as how to avoid marital meltdown and deal with the stress
after a newborn arrivesbut also has six additional topics, including advice on how
to rekindle intimacy and get dad more involved.
Refreshingly, some companies are now offering the Bringing Baby Home workshop
to its employees, including Microsoft and Eddie Bauerwhich makes sense says
Pirak, as couples on the verge of divorce are less productive at work.
Pirak, who is a master trainer, has trained and certified educators to conduct these
workshops and now says there are over 408 Bringing Baby Home workshops
running in twelve countries.
If youre too busy to attendas most new parents seem to betake heart. Just
learning that youre not alone in your current state of distress can help. Experts and
moms who have been there say its important to take a deep breath, take a walk
with friends, and talk about it. If you find that you are fighting more than ever with
your spouse, even two years after the baby arrived, it may be time to seek
counseling. Hire a sitter and think of it as a weekly date. Do you have any strategies
that youve used to help keep the bond together with your partner? Please chime in!
First published November 2007
Find this article at:

Balancing Work and Home
Another major challenge facing relationships today comes from our jobs.
More than ever before in history, work places a tremendous amount of stress on
family members.
Work/Home Balance? It's Called
Life (from
February 13, 2007
As we struggle to achieve parity between the job and personal time, we must
understand that there are no cookie-cutter solutions
by Kurt Ronn
A farmer circa 1900 certainly would not have understood today's concept of
work/life "balance." For him, farming was work, and farming was life. Today much
has changed, but the impossibility of separating work and life hasn't. While
employers and employees alike regularly struggle to achieve parity between the job
and home, the truth is that life is composed of goals and choices. With that in mind,
we must embrace work and life as one and the same, and determine what is
appropriate for each individual situation.
The idea of work/life balance is further complicated by the fact that the U.S.
workforce is culturally diverse and made up of different generations, each with its
own set of priorities. Additionally, businesses are in various stages of their own life
cycles: startup, high growth, mature, and downsizing. Instead of looking for a
generic, standardized concept of work/life balance, we should understand that it is
the combination of these variables that defines what the balance isand what it
should be.
It's important to note that companies that are great places to work consistently
outperform those that don't value employees. Companies that make poor business
decisions without considering the diverse needs of their workers consistently under
perform the competition. Therefore, realistic expectations need to be set by
employers and employees, based on the context of what needs to be achieved and
who is performing the work.
Work/life balance has entered the minds of the current workforce in very different
ways, and each generation has its own needs that must be considered. Baby
boomers are more likely to be contemplating second careers instead of retirement.
Generation X is entering midcareer, while members of Gen Y are just starting out in
the workforce. Plus, there are plenty of mature, traditionalist workers interested in
staying employed for such diverse reasons as improved health, increased life span,
or financial security.
The mature worker (age 55-plus) wants to continue to contribute; this group often
possesses the most knowledge about the organization and has the greatest amount
of experience. At this point, they are most likely either career-focused and working
on projects, or enjoying their ability to give back to the community during brief
sabbaticals from the workplace. Complete retirement, as their parents might have
considered, is usually not an option, because longer life spans are leading to second
and even third careers with the aim of finding new challenges and maintaining a
certain standard of living.
The midcareer baby boomers are finishing putting their Generation X children
through college and have been working through one of the most robust periods of
economic growth ever. However, after witnessing rounds of corporate downsizing
and job cuts, this group is reluctant to request time off; they want to stay employed
and hang on to a good thing. Yet, they are beginning to evaluate their life's
accomplishments and are going to want to give back to society or maybe even start
their own companies.
Members of Generation X get a bad rap for not being loyal to their companies and
putting themselves first. If your childhood consisted of seeing your parents
downsized, maybe repeatedly, you would probably have a similar tendency to look
out for No. 1. Members of this group are most likely having a first child, buying the
first house, and need time and accommodations to digest these life-changing events.
In addition, this generation often has both parents working, and single parents are
common, so the need for flexibility is greater than for previous generations.
Finally, the youngest group in the workforce is Generation Y. This group never knew
a time without a computer, cable TV, or video games. Due to safety concerns,
childhood probably consisted of organized sports instead of running around the
neighborhood. The youngest children of the baby boomers, they were the
benefactors of their parents' economic prosperity. Why would you leave home if you
couldn't replicate your current lifestyle? This generation is more loyal to parents
and "tribe" than to an employer.
The varying needs of the workforce can be addressed through technology, flexible
scheduling, mentoring programs, encouraging wandering employees to
"boomerang" back, and building a culture that appreciates diversity. You cannot
please everybody all of the time, but you can increase your odds of satisfaction by
adding context to work and understanding the motivation behind the people doing
the job. Regardless of their generation, workers are trying to strike a balance in their
own personal situations, and businesses are trying to prioritize their own goals and
needs. The division of work and life is arbitrary: The solution is to put the two back
together. The goal is for a meaningful life, not a battle between good and evil or life
against work. The farmer of 100 years ago understood: Farming is life. Work is life.
Life is work.
Kurt Ronn is the president and founder of HRworks, a national recruitment firm that
helps major companies acquire talent to build their organizations. For more
information, visit
Also listen to Professional Parents lecture from TDC 2007

Domestic Violence


The National Coalition against Domestic Violence
(NCADV) defines domestic
violence as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or
other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. This
type of behavior affects individuals irrespective of their age, economic status, race,
religion or level of education. According to the Centers for Disease Control and
(CDC), approximately 1.3 million who face physical assault in the
and 85% who are victims to such violence are women
. Even these numbers
underestimate the true prevalence of domestic violence since most cases are never
reported to law enforcement
. The economic impact exceeds 5.8 billion dollars per
year with a cost of 4.1 billion dollars for medical and mental health services alone
Domestic Violence, also referred to as Intimate Partner Violence, manifests itself
in society in a variety of forms. An estimated 57% of homeless families identified
domestic violence as the primary cause of their homelessness
. More than half of
men who abuse women also abuse children
. The Uniform Crime Report of the F.B.I.
(1991) notes that such violence in the U.S. is the leading cause of injury to women
between ages 15 to 44 exceeding car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.
Women from families with low income are more likely to be victims as well
Women of black race experience partner violence 35% higher than white women
An estimated 1 to 20% of pregnant women are battered
. According to the CDC
Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System data (1991-1999) homicide was the
second leading cause of injury related deaths among pregnant and post-partum
women in the U.S.
The anatomy of domestic violence is cyclical in nature
consisting typically of 3
phases. Phase 1 consists of increased tension, anger, blaming and arguing. This
culminates into Phase 2 that involves either physical (hitting, slapping, kicking) or
sexual abuse or verbal abuse and threats. Phase 3 follows in which there is calm
during which the abuser may show remorse and denial, asking for forgiveness and
promising never to engage in such a behavior again. This again leads to Phase 1 as
noted above and the cycle recurs.
The effect of intimate partner violence on the family and the children in
particular cannot be over-emphasized. There are 1 million incidents in the US
against children with over 1100 deaths that result. Such physical violence is also
witnessed by an estimated 10 million children annually, usually done against their
mother. Thus, those children who have either experienced or witnessed physical
abuse have a 4 to 6 fold increased risk of engaging in domestic violence
Within Muslim Communities residing in North America, there is a general sense
of denial that when acts of violence and physical abuse do occur, that they generally
tend to do so among non-Muslims. But, when sensational accounts of murder take
place, such as the recent beheading in Buffalo, NY (February 2009) of a wife by the
Executive and Founder of the Islamic Television Bridges TV, a Network established
to counter Muslim stereotypes, this becomes a wakeup call for all Muslims that
violence against women cannot be ignored, it is not a private matter and the
Muslim community is not exempt

When it comes to addressing violence among Muslims in the U.S., estimates are
hard to ascertain in part since we are dealing with a diverse group comprised of first
generation immigrants (Asia, Africa, Middle East, Caribbean, Eastern Europe) and
American-born Muslims (descendents of immigration populations, Anglo-
Americans, African Americans). Although Islam is the common denominator among
Muslims, ethnic cultural differences make Muslim Americans a very heterogeneous
. According to Y. Qadhi, Muslims in America are roughly comprised of
African American, 1/3
South Asian and 1/3
Arabs (mostly Egyptians)
Thus one cannot make generalizations for each sub-culture needs to be analyzed
within its ethnic and cultural framework to make sense of spousal abuse.
Furthermore, until recently, Muslims in America have received very little attention
from researchers with a paucity of publications to date only on select Muslim
groups. There are an estimated 8 to 10 million Muslims in America. According to a
survey of 63 Muslim community workers, leaders and individuals conducted by the
North American Council for Muslim Women in 1993, domestic violence against
Muslim women and children comprised 10% of the Muslim population. By
comparison, during the same year, 7% of American women in general were
physically abused
The basis for and support of supposed wife beating in Islam in the Quran has
revolved around the following verse:
_ - '' , ' = - , - - , = = _ _ =' - - '
, - -
As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill conduct (nushuz),
admonish them, refuse to share their beds, and beat them [Nisa 4:34]
Four Islamic interpretations based upon national culture prevailing in Muslim
Countries have recently been provided
. The author notes that with 1.2 billion
Muslims residing in 184 countries and speaking over 200 dialects, a single
interpretation is impossible. The intent of the paper was to showcase such views in
order to inform advocates and service providers who deal with battered Muslim
immigrant women, in order to facilitate making better decisions regarding safety
and nonviolence.
The interpretations that influence Muslim communities regarding wife beating
include: (1) Permissibility to do so if the wife does not obey her husband. (2) It is
permissible with consideration for her safety taken into account. (3) The verse
addresses an exception given that wife beating is generally unacceptable. (4) The
verse has been misinterpreted and does not refer to beating when the Arabic
word , - - (idribuhunna) is used. The first opinion is based upon the beginning
of verse 34 where men are described as qawamun [protectors] of women. Thus, it
is a God-given power and authority men have been granted over women and
permits discipline of women by beating them. Though this is not a position held by
many Muslim leaders, the author notes that this understanding has been identified
in some U.S. Muslim immigrant communities
. The second position acknowledges
that Islam permits a husband to beat her as a last resort for disloyalty and ill
conduct carried out in the spirit of reconciliation and healing without resulting in
injury, and not based upon anger or revenge. The 3
interpretation holds that it is
permissible but not desirable, when taken in context of the example of the Prophet
(saws) who never hit a servant or a woman. The fourth position indicates that the
word idribuhnna does not only mean to hit, beat or strike for how can this be a
means to reconciliation and harmony to marriage, for beating would nullify all the
prior measures preceding this word in the verse? The author concludes the paper
by noting that these opinions co-exist and may explain why wife beating in some
cultures is acceptable and in turn does not raise a red flag on behalf of the woman to
report such apparent Quranic injunction as domestic violence to the police!
An Arab immigrant population is briefly addressed as an example with respect to
domestic violence in an attempt to understand the root cause of such violence
unique to that sub-culture, how it is perceived within its ethnic community and the
basis for its under-reporting in the American Community at large
. Abu-Ras looked
at the relationship between cultural beliefs and the seeking of help via utilization of
services among battered Arab immigrant women in Dearborn, Michigan. According
to the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS, 1997) in
Michigan, 28% of arrests for domestic violence involved Arab Americans, who
comprise 30% of the population. Despite such high statistics, very few Arab
immigrant women declined to seek intervention in partner abuse along with low
rate of incident reporting to the police. Why? A womans attitude towards spousal
abuse is influenced by a number of factors including (a) traditional values regarding
marital and sex-role expectations; (b) cultural and religious beliefs; (c) immigration
status; (d) length of residence; (e) socioeconomic status; (f) marital status
. The
Arab immigrant community of Dearborn, MI represents a unique microcosm of the
Arab world comprising Arabs from Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. Based upon
the ACCESS Domestic Violence Prevention Project, 86 Arab immigrant women who
experienced spousal abuse were identified of which 67 agreed to be interviewed
face to face in Arabic for collecting data by an individual who shared the same
cultural background. One hundred percent reported physical abuse with 98%
noting psychological abuse 12 months prior to the interview. Interestingly 25%
agreed that a wife should be beaten if she challenges her husbands manhood and
24% agreed that she should be killed if she was unfaithful. Divorce as a permanent
solution to partner abuse was rejected by 52%. The majority (78%) agreed that it
was important for a man to show his wife that he is head of the house. The author
concluded that battered Arab immigrant women with traditional beliefs and
attitudes toward women and wife beating were less likely to take advantage of
formal services to address partner abuse. Furthermore, in Arab Culture women are
expected to accept their marital problems for 2 main reasons: (1) maintain family
unity; (2) avoid divorce as it is a source of shame and dishonor. It also results in
loss of financial support for the woman. The low utility of mental health services
may have been due to the stigma that such services signify insanity or mental
The reluctance to seek medical care, except in severe cases, was attributed to
high cost of services, lack of health insurance and fear of exposing ones family
problems to those outside of it with consequences of potentially more abuse from
the husband. A very interesting discussion was that post 9-11, Arab immigrant
women in the U.S. were less likely to report spousal abuse due to their immigration
status, and had less sense of security potentially facing more physical abuse along
with fear of being recognized outside as Arabs with possible violence due to an anti-
Arab climate felt by the American community towards Arab Americans in general.
Post 9-11 also saw the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service enacting alien
registration programs based upon national origin and ethnicity and monitoring of
international students. Over 8,000 persons were investigated resulting in 16%
being deported out of 130,000 Arabs residing in the U.S. Thus, they were even less
likely to contact the police or legal services for help and also the fear that their
husbands might be deported or mistreated by the U.S. legal system.
In closing, the issue of Domestic or Intimate Partner Violence among the Muslim
Communities needs to be addressed in a number of fronts. First, there is a need to
combat illiteracy with proper education of the masses, involving both genders.
Indeed, Islam came to remove ignorance (Jahilliyah) with the very first command
being Read (iqra)! Similar to workshops organized for those planning to perform
Hajj, both Muslim men and women planning to marry should be provided with
guidelines based upon the Quran and Sunnah, both in book form and verbally from
their local spiritual or community leader regarding the rights and duties of a
husband and wife, etiquettes of marriage, responsibilities, and how to deal with
potential problems that may arise in a marriage relationship with guide books such
as What Islam Says About Domestic Violence
. In an Open Letter to the Leaders of
American Muslim Communities, the vice-president of the Islamic Society of North
America outlined recommendations that can serve as preventative measures in
curbing domestic violence by making the topic of healthy marriage as a part of the
curriculum within youth programs locally and at National Conventions, MSA
conferences, Seminars at local Islamic Centers and in Friday Khutbahs
Second, given the reluctance of Muslim women, particularly among immigrants to
seek legal counsel for fear of embarrassment or harm that may result from such
action, and their willingness to settle such issues within the extended family
involving local spiritual leaders, Imams need to be properly trained through
workshops to be culturally sensitive to meet the needs of such victims as they may
be the last and only resort called upon by a battered woman to resolve such crises.
They should have at their disposal access to provide support and protection to
potential abuse victims including a safe place to stay as well as the framework
within which such victims can have access to social service providers in their
immediate vicinity. An example of such an organization is ACCESS, the largest and
oldest Arab grass root organization that serves the largest and most diverse Arab
immigrant community in the US
Guidelines for Imams in assisting victims of domestic violence as well as a number
of shelters in the U.S. to accommodate physically abused survivors are available on
the web
23, 24
. Additionally, given that abuse of women crosses all cultural lines and
communities, whether Muslim or not, a DVD has been produced for Imams and
social workers to familiarize themselves with issues related to Domestic Violence in
America, and in turn to use it for training others. It can be accessed through the
A number of useful websites outlined below have been provided
towards helping women of domestic violence. Where applicable, a brief description
is given of their purpose and mission, with some geared towards a specific ethnic
group. May Allah (swt) guide the Muslim Ummah in fulfilling its responsibilities to
protecting our Muslim Sisters, the Mothers and educators of the future Ummah of
Islam, an Ummah entrusted with enjoining good, forbidding evil and in guiding
humanity out of darkness of ignorance into the light of truth! May Allah (swt)
accept the best of this preliminary research and forgive me where I may have fallen
short. I pray to Allah that this brief overview of domestic violence increases the
thirst of those who read this to undertake further research on this topic in order to
combat the negative stereo-types put forth against Islam with firm conviction based
upon truth Ameen.

1. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Preventing Violence
Against Women
3. Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States.
2003. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Centers for
Injury Prevention and Control, Atlanta, GA.
4. Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-
2001, February 2003.
5. Frieze, IH, Browne, A. (1989) Violence in Marriage. In L.E. Ohlin & M.H.
Tonry (eds.). Family Violence. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
6. The United States Conference of Mayors, A Status Report on Hunger and
Homelessness in Americas Cities: 1999, December 1999 (p. 94)
7. American Psychological Association. Violence and the Family: Report of the
American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and
the Family (1996), p. 11.
8. Myths and Facts About Domestic Violence.
9. Family Violence Statistics.
10. Shoffner D. We Dont Like to Think About It Intimate Partner Violence
During Pregnancy and Postpartum. J Perinat Neonat Nurs. Vol 22, No. 1, pp.
39-48 (2008)
11. Chang J et al. Homicide: a leading cause of injury deaths among pregnant and
post-partum women in the United States, 1991-1999. Am J Public health.
12. McFarlane J, Parker B, Cross B. Abuse During Pregnancy: A Protocol for
Prevention and Intervention. 2
ed. White Plains, NY: march of Dimes; 2002
13. Falsetti SA. Screening and Responding to Family and Intimate Partner
Violence in the Primary Care Setting. Prim Care Clin Office Pract 34(2007)
14. Imam Mohamed Hagmagid Ali, Vice President, The Islamic Society of North
America Responding to the Killing of Aasiya Hassan: An Open Letter to the
Leaders of American Muslim Communities (February 2009)
15. Hassouneh-Phillips, D. Marriage is Half of Faith and the Rest is Fear Allah:
Marriage and Spousal Abuse Among American Muslims. Violence Against
Women 2001;7;927
16. Y. Qadhi. Towards Forming a Muslim-American Identity. IlmFest 2008, NYC.
17. Al-Khateeb, S. Ending Domestic Violence in Muslim Families. Journal of
Religion & Abuse, Vol. 1, pp. 49-59 (1999)
18. Ammar, NH. Wife Battery in Islam: A Comprehensive Understanding of
Interpretations. Violence Against Women 2007;13:516
19. Ammar, NH. Simplistic Stereotyping and Complex Reality of Arab-American
Immigrant Identity: Consequences and future strategies in policing wife
battery. Journal of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp.
51-70 (2000)
20. Aub-Ras W. Cultural Beliefs and Service Utilization by Battered Arab
Immigrant Women. Violence Against Women 2007;13;1002
21. Abu-Ras W. (2003). Barriers to services for battered Arab immigrant women
in a Detroit Suburb. Social Work Research and Evaluation. 3(4), 49-66.
22. For a Copy of What Islam Says About Domestic Violence Call toll free 1-877-
23. Guidelines for Imams Assisting A Victim/Survivor of Domestic Violence
24. List of Ethnic/Religious Shelters and Programs
25. Websites and Resources: adapted from (Only those Muslim
websites confirmed to exist have been listed below with a brief description of
each organization as available at the web address).
NOTE: The list provided is for informational purposes only. The author
herein is not liable for the contents of each website.
a. Apna Ghar
This website provides culturally-appropriate, multilingual services, including
emergency shelter, to survivors of domestic abuse with a primary focus on
the South Asian and other immigrant communities.
b. Crescent Life
c. Niswa
We focus on issues of importance to the Muslim ummah. Our goals are the
preservation of the Muslim family and the creation of solutions to the
problems that occur in our community.
d. Narika
Narika was founded in 1992 to address the problem of domestic violence in
the South Asian community. Embracing the notion of women's
empowerment, Narika set out to address the unmet needs of abused South
Asian women by providing advocacy, support, information, and referrals
within a culturally sensitive model. We serve women who trace their origins
to Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and diasporic
communities such as Fiji and the Caribbean.
e. Kamilat
f. HOMS Housing Outreach for Muslim Sisters
H.O.M.S. is a facility designed for Muslim women and their children who are
in need of temporary housing/shelter due to family or financial problems
g. Muslim Womens League

The Muslim Women's League is a non-profit Muslim American organization
working to implement the values of Islam and thereby reclaim the status of
women as free, equal and vital contributors to society.

The Hard Hitting Truth

Domestic violence is a disease that the world has become immune to. No longer
does it shock and abhor us. It doesnt even make the five o clock news anymore,
unless if its a death of a woman with four children that was shot by her husband.
However, by then its too late to do anything. Most likely this woman was in an
abusive relationship for many years till death was her only means of escape.

Domestic Violence Statistics:

"Around the world at least one woman in every three has been
beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Most
often the abuser is a member of her own family."

"Nearly one in every three adult women experiences at least one
physical assault by a partner during adulthood. Approximately four
million American women experience a serious assault by an intimate
partner during a 12-month period."

51% of women in Canada have experienced at least one incidence of
physical/sexual violence since the age of 16

Domestic violence is not exemptible should it be in an Islamic marriage. A rose by
any other name will still smell as sweet, and domestic violence by any other name
will be just as destructive. In order to save face, Muslim Communities turn a blind
eye to domestic violence. It is a shameful reality that will not go away by simply
ignoring it, it will only grow bigger as a tumor left untreated. When we know of an
evil and merely turn away from it, it is as if we ourselves have taken part.

There are many reasons why domestic violence is looked over, one of those reasons
is due to the fact that marriages are attached with cultural practices. It seems as a
requirement that a man to treat his wife in a manner that shows his manhood, and if
anything is done to challenge that, she is then punished. If she so happens to go and
complain to her family she is then asked what has she done to provoke him, she is
seen as the catalyst to his behavior.

In order to help and cure this disease we must first admit and acknowledge the
problem. Then take action, finding resources and making them available to the
community. Most importantly helping those who are victims and holding the
perpetrator accountable and not making excuses for them. Imams and Muslim

Heise, L., Ellsberg, M. and M. Gottemoeller. Ending Violence Against Women. Population Reports, Series L, No.
11. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Population Information Program, December 1999.
American Psychological Association. Facts About Family Violence. American Psychological Association Web Site.
Canada 1 Based on information from the Violence Against Women Survey (VAWS) 1993 and reported in #
(Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women, 2002), page 10.
leaders must also part take in the solution be it by advising against it and seek
training on how to handle domestic violence cases. We must stop taking the
antibiotics called ignore and start to cure the symptoms with the right medication.

Why Marriage is Good for Both Men and Women
Making a Case for Marriage
The Situation
The annual marriage rate fell 50% from 1970-2004. (David Popenoe & Barbara D.
Whitehead, State of Our Unions 2006, National Marriage
Project,, p15)
Since 1960, the decline of those married among persons age 15 and older has been
14%. This is a result of increases in lifelong singlehood and long-term cohabitation,
and a decrease in remarriage for divorced persons. (Ibid.)
Marriage is being put off until later in life. The average age of marriage in 1960 was
20 for women and 23 for men. Today, the age is 26 and 27 respectively. For those
with college degrees, marriage is postponed even longer. (Ibid.)
Cohabitation is ten times more common than in 1960, a situation that is delaying
and replacing marriage. (Popenoe & Whitehead, The State of Our Unions 2006, p25)
Some mistakenly suggest that marriage is good for men but bad for women, citing
the effect of marriage on women's careers, the stress of motherhood, and the danger
of domestic abuse. (Popenoe & Whitehead, Top Ten Myths of Marriage, 2002, citing
Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher, The Case for Marriage, 2000, Ch12)
Social science findings
Mutual Benefits
Married people have longer life expectancies than unmarried peers. (Witherspoon
Institute, Marriage and the Public Good: 10 Principles, 2006,
Married couples have more meaningful sexual relationships. They have sex as
frequently as cohabiting couples, but also report higher emotional satisfaction in
their sexual relationships. (Linda Waite, Does Marriage Matter?, 1995, p. 491)
Married people are more productive, have higher incomes, and enjoy more family
time than the unmarried. This is due in part to the division and specialization of
labor, where spouses each take responsibility for specific tasks. (L. Waite & E.
Lehrer, The Benefits from Marriage & Religion in the U.S.: A Comparative Analysis,
Population & Development Review, Vol 29, No. 2, June 2003, p. 264)
The argument for marriage extends beyond the benefits for children and society and
encompasses significant advantages for couples. Men and women equally benefit
from marriage but in gender specific ways (Popenoe and Whitehead, Top Ten Myths
of Marriage, 2002).
Benefits for Men
Marriage encourages better relationships between parents and children, especially
father-child interactions. (Brad Wilcox, Institute for American Values, Why Marriage
Matters, 2nd Edition, 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences,
Married men earn 10-40% more than similar unmarried men (Popenoe &
Whitehead, National Marriage Project, The State of Our Unions 2005, p16).
Married men gain substantial physical health benefits; they are physically fitter and
less prone to illness or disability. (Witherspoon Institute,Marriage and the Public
Good..., p.20)
Married men have lower levels of testosterone which is associated with a reduction
in aggressive and risky behavior, as well as promiscuity. (Wilcox, Why Marriage
Matters..., p. 17 & Witherspoon Institute, Marriage and the Public Good..., p.20)
Married men are less likely to have alcohol and drug addictions, to commit crime,
and to be abusive. (L. Waite, Does Marriage Matter?, p. 468)
Benefits for Women
Compared to unmarried women, married women without children have higher
incomes and married mothers are less likely to live in poverty. (Witherspoon
Institute, Marriage and the Public Good..., p.20)
For women, marriage combats depression, provides particularly high psychological
benefits, and significantly lowers the risk of suicide. (Wilcox, Why Marriage
Matters..., p.28 & Witherspoon Institute, Marriage and the Public Good..., p.20)
Marriage normally decreases the likelihood that a woman will be domestically
abused. Only 5% of married women report abuse compared to 14% of cohabiting
women. (Waite & Lehrer, The Benefits from Marriage & Religion..., p.261)
Church teaching and pastoral response
Vatican Council II affirms that the intimate partnership of married life and love is
not only ordered towards the goods of offspring and society, but also for the good of
the spouses. (Gaudium et Spes #48)
The Church teaches that marriage "helps to overcome self-absorption, egoism,
pursuit of one's own pleasure, and to open oneself to the other, to mutual aid and to
self-giving" (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1609).
The Church recognizes the goodness of unity and difference in existence. Yet have
all that the other has, so also do men and women in marriage become fully one, but
with different resources and ways of relating. (John Paul II,Letter to Families #8 &
Mulieris Dignitatem #10)
John Paul II speaks of the capacity for marriage to cure the negative effects of sin
with the help of God's grace in the sacraments, and through prayer and forgiveness
in the family. (Letter to Families #14)
Speaking about the equal dignity of men and women, the U.S. Bishops address
gender difference. They talk about particular physical and psychological gender
traits that result in varying skills and perspectives. As noted above, men and women
mutually benefit from marriage, but they receive these benefits in different ways.
(USCCB, Follow the Way of Love, 1993, p.19)
Marriage is good for children, society, and for the spouses themselves. Social science
shows that there are specific benefits for men and women in marriage, which are
gifts of a loving relationship between two people who are equal but different. While
avoiding any generalizations concerning gender, research does find that marriage
helps men to become better fathers, reduces their likeliness to quarrel and fall prey
to addiction, and provides many physical health benefits. Women on the other hand,
are more likely to gain financially, to be protected from crime and abuse, and to
receive psychological benefits. These findings resonate with the teaching of the
Church on the complimentarily and equality of men and women, as well as on the
goods of marriage.

How a New Baby Tests a Marriage

Trouble in Paradise: How a New Baby Tests a Marriage
By: Laura Roe Stevens
I vividly remember how stressed my husband was when I was pregnant in 2001. As
my belly expanded, so did his stress level, mainly concerning finances. He helped
found a technology start-up two years earlier that rode the roller coaster ride of the boom and crash and my pregnancy came at the tail endwhen he was
forced to lay off lots of his friends and colleagues and eventually sell the business. It
was a stressful time in general; many of our talented friends in California were
suddenly faced with pink slips as companies and magazines were closing down
everywhere we turned. It certainly was the closest Ive experienced to a real
depression. So, I chocked up all our stress that first year of my sons life to the times
we were facinguntil I read something extraordinary. Sixty-seven percent of couples
come close to divorce during the first three years of a new babys life.
In the first few months after babys arrival, between 40 to 70 percent of couples
experience stress, profound conflict, and drops in marital satisfaction, according to
a series of studies conducted over the past thirteen years by The Gottman Institute,
a Seattle-based organization co-founded by best-selling authors and psychologists
Drs. John and Julie Schwartz Gottman. The Gottman Institute provides couple
workshops and individual therapy; they also train mental health professionals. It is
most famous, however, for its research-based studies conducted in its love lab that
came to fame in the Gottmans best-selling book The Seven Principals for Making
Marriage Work.
Their latest research effort is focused on couple dissatisfaction in the years
immediately after having a baby and is outlined in their current book: And Baby
Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling
Romance After Baby Arrives.
Two-thirds of all parents are significantly dissatisfied in the first year of a new
childs life. How can you be in the other one-third? asks Carolyn Pirak, director of
The Bringing Baby Home project, affiliated with Gottmans Relationship Institute.
Their research finds that most new moms are unhappy in the first four months of a
babys life. Dads, however, are unhappy typically when a baby turns nine months old
and dads stay unhappy well into their childs second year. By the time their child is
three, half of the two-thirds [of couples found dissatisfied in the first year of
parenthood] are miserable and well on their way to divorce, Pirak explains.
Some reasons for this include sleep deprivation, irritability, and lack of intimacy and
desirewomens sex drives slow way down through the first three years of a childs
When I think about it, as sad as this information may be, its not actually that
shocking. I recall how I received the news that a family member was divorcing her
husband when her first child was just one year old. I was so worried that she was
too hormonal to be making a good, rational decision. But Im learning that its likely
to do with a lot more than hormones.
Having children is a complete transformation. Roles change and a different
paradigm is created. They also have to adapt to the 24/7 care of a demanding
newborn. It can be a real shockespecially if one partner is expecting something
different from the other, says Pirak.
With this in mind, the Gottmans created a workshop for couples of infants to help
prepare them for the years to come and give them strategies to deal with the stress,
conflict, and lack of intimacy that follow having a child. For instance, couples learn
before they are sleep-deprived and clinically depressed to be aware that they will be
in this state after months of little sleep. They also learn to deal with conflict in more
conducive ways by not getting contemptuous and not criticizing one another when
To test the effects of this two-day workshop, The Bringing Baby Home project
embarked on a remarkable study following 159 couples with 168 children for six
years after attending a Gottman workshop.
The study, conducted in Sweden between 1999 and 2005, found that if couples are
given an opportunity to explore issues and prepare for how parenthood changes
their relationships, they will have a much better chance of staying together.
This was the only research-based and tested study of couples with children that Im
aware of and it was a huge success! Out of 159 couples (who attended the two-day
workshop) only one couple got divorced six years later and all others reported
higher levels of happiness. And, there was even a 22.5 percent drop in the (typical)
incidence of post-partum depression that we usually see, Pirak explains.
Due to the success of this first study, The Bringing Baby Home project now offers the
same workshop expanded into a six- or eight-week series. The larger series teaches
the same tenants such as how to avoid marital meltdown and deal with the stress
after a newborn arrivesbut also has six additional topics, including advice on how
to rekindle intimacy and get dad more involved.
Refreshingly, some companies are now offering the Bringing Baby Home workshop
to its employees, including Microsoft and Eddie Bauerwhich makes sense says
Pirak, as couples on the verge of divorce are less productive at work.
Pirak, who is a master trainer, has trained and certified educators to conduct these
workshops and now says there are over 408 Bringing Baby Home workshops
running in twelve countries.
If youre too busy to attendas most new parents seem to betake heart. Just
learning that youre not alone in your current state of distress can help. Experts and
moms who have been there say its important to take a deep breath, take a walk
with friends, and talk about it. If you find that you are fighting more than ever with
your spouse, even two years after the baby arrived, it may be time to seek
counseling. Hire a sitter and think of it as a weekly date. Do you have any strategies
that youve used to help keep the bond together with your partner? Please chime in!
First published November 2007
Find this article at:

Divorce Proof Rhyme

Heres a little rhyme that contains the secret to a divorce proof marriage. Its based
on 15+ years of scientific research. And surprise, surprise: it was already in the

Kilometer Carts = Hearts!
KM CARTS = Hearts!

K - Know: Know your spouse. Know her/his likes, dislikes, hobbies, interests, life
story, ambitions, personality, talents, what's going on in her/his life at the moment,
M - Meaning: What's the shared meaning of your marriage? Have shared goals,
rituals, symbols, etc. For example, your shared goal could be to enter jannat-ul-
firdaws together! A shared ritual might be reading Qur'an together every night.

C - Compromise: Compromise on areas of conflict whenever possible.
A - Admiration: Remember why you admire her/him and keep those feelings of
fondness and admiration alive.
R - Respond: Respond to the small talk and chit chat your spouse makes. Don't
ignore it.
T - Tolerate: Some of your conflicts may be rooted in deeper differences in your
personalities. Tolerate those aspects of her/his personality that simply aren't going
to change.
S - Shoora: Take shoora from your spouse when making decisions and actually act
upon her/his advice. For women this comes naturally. Men tend to find this difficult!

Time to memorize it:

Kilometer Carts = Hearts!
KM CARTS = Hearts!

Some of these things may seem trivial, but their impact upon a marriage is immense.
Of course, this little rhyme will mean a lot more (and be a lot more useful) once you
read the book on which it's based: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by
John Gottman*.

km Carts = Hearts!

Can anyone think of stories from the Qur'an and Sunnah that might portray one of
the aspects of KM CARTS? (Be careful not to twist textual references forcing them to
conform to KM CARTS.)

May Allah bless the Muslims with awesome, divorce-proof marriages. Ameen!

We pray you have benefitted from these articles.

May Allaah azza wa jal grant you the best in this worldly life and the hereafter.