During a seminar, a woman asked,” How do I know if I am with the right person?”

The author then noticed that there was a large man sitting next to her so he said, “It depends. Is that your partner?” In all seriousness, she answered “How do you know?” Let me answer this question because the chances are good that it’s weighing on your mind replied the author.

Here’s the answer.

Every relationship has a cycle… In the beginning; you fall in love with your partner. You anticipate their calls, want their touch, and like their idiosyncrasies. Falling in love wasn’t hard. In fact, it was a completely natural and spontaneous experience. You didn’t have to DO anything. That’s why it’s called “falling” in love.

People in love sometimes say, “I was swept of my feet.”Picture the expression. It implies that you were just standing there; doing nothing, and then something happened TO YOU.

Falling in love is a passive and spontaneous experience. But after a few months or years of being together, the euphoria of love fades. It’s a natural cycle of EVERY relationship.

Slowly but surely, phone calls become a bother (if they come at all), touch is not always welcome (when it happens), and your spouse’s idiosyncrasies, instead of being cute, drive you nuts. The symptoms of this stage vary with every relationship; you will notice a dramatic difference between the initial stage when you were in love and a much duller or even angry subsequent stage.

At this point, you and/or your partner might start asking, “Am I with the right person?” And as you reflect on the euphoria of the love you once had, you may begin to desire that experience with someone else. This is when relationships breakdown.

The key to succeeding in a relationship is not finding the right person; it’s learning to love the person you found.

People blame their partners for their unhappiness and look outside for fulfillment. Extramarital fulfillment comes in all shapes and sizes.

Infidelity is the most common. But sometimes people turn to work, a hobby, friendship, excessive TV, or abusive substances. But the answer to this dilemma does NOT lie outside your relationship. It lies within it.

I’m not saying that you couldn’t fall in love with someone else. You could. And TEMPORARILY you’d feel better. But you’d be in the same situation a few years later.

Because (listen carefully to this):

The key to succeeding in a Relationship is not finding the right person; it’s learning to love the Person you found.

SUSTAINING love is not a passive or spontaneous experience. You have to work on it day in and day out. It takes time, effort, and energy. And most importantly, it demands WISDOM. You have to know WHAT TO DO to make it work. Make no mistake about it.

Love is NOT a mystery. There are specific things you can do (with or without your partner), Just as there are physical laws Of the universe (such as gravity), there are also laws for relationships. If you know how to apply these laws, the results are predictable.

Love is therefore a “decision”. Not just a feeling.

Remember this always: God determines who walks into your life. It is up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let GO..


Be Thankful Everyday….

There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, ‘If I could only see the world, I will marry you.’ One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend. He asked her, ‘Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?’ The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn’t expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him. Her boyfriend left her in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying: ‘Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine.’ This is how the human brain often works when our status changes. Only a very few remember what life was like before, and who was always by their side in the most painful situations.

Life Is a Gift
Today before you say an unkind word –
Think of someone who can’t speak.
Before you complain about the taste of your food –
Think of someone who has nothing to eat.
Before you complain about your husband or wife –
Think of someone who’s asking GOD to provide a suitable companion.
Today before you complain about life –
Think of someone who went too early to heaven.
Before you complain about your children –
Think of someone who desires children but They are not able to have any.
Before you argue about your dirty house someone didn’t clean or sweep –
Think of the people who are living in the streets.
Before whining about the distance you drive –
Think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.
And when you are tired and complain about your job –
Think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your job.
But before you think of pointing the finger or condemning another –
Remember that not one of us is without sin and we all answer to one MAKER.
And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down –
Put a smile on your face and thank GOD you’re alive and still around.

When to call the wedding off –

My parents told me that it was a mistake to go on a “pre-honeymoon” in 1987 with my fiancé, that it would douse the magic of our first trip together as husband and wife. Both in their mid-60s, my mom and dad would giggle like teenagers when they recalled their own honeymoon, driving in 1952 through the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

I didn’t listen and nor should you. I believed then, and I know now, that traveling with someone you are engaged to be married to is a very wise move. You may find out, like I did, that there was very little magic in the relationship in the first place. Quickly you discover quirks and questionable behaviors that could save you from making one huge mistake.

Is he cool under the pressure of hectic crowds? Does he drag you to museums when you want to loll along a river? Are you hot for him? Is he flexible? Is he fun?

I knew at the airport before we boarded the Air France flight that Mr. Right was probably wrong for me. We arrived in separate cabs and he was wearing a navy blue blazer and a long-sleeved shirt. I was wearing a tank top and a blue jean skirt. Here I was going on my first trip to Paris and I was ecstatic about being surrounded by so many cool-looking people boarding our plane. He was snarly about the long check-in lines, and snippy with me.

By the end of our first day in France, I knew it was over: He balked at my idea of strolling the Left Bank and insisted we arrive first in line to tour the Louvres, this with hundreds of other American tourists on a swampy August day. When I told him the Louvres could wait — we would be in France for two weeks — he told me “it is on our schedule for today.” I responded that I was not on a schedule and that we should “do our own thing” and meet later for dinner at a designated café.

He arrived scowling and silent, after a day in the crunch of more crowds. I arrived tipsy and effusive, after a day of cheese and wine and people watching. That night, in a cozy apartment in the City of Love, as we undressed before getting into one of those tiny French beds, I looked at him and looked away and realized that not only did I not want to sleep with him, I didn’t want to be with him. Throughout our brief courtship our dates had consisted mostly of dinner parties or meals at noisy restaurants. Alone on another continent, just me and him and nothing familiar, it was awful.

The next morning, after sleeping rigidly side by side without even our toes touching, I told him that I had been so enthralled with the idea of marriage that I didn’t really know the man I was marrying. We are so different, I said. You are wonderful, and deserve a better match than me, I added. I cried. After sputtering out a few angry paragraphs not fit to repeat here, he looked relieved. He knew like I knew that I was clearly wrong as his Mrs. I ended up staying in Paris with a girlfriend and he went on to Cannes, where one of his guy friends had a house.

And that was that — except there was some undoing to do once I got back home. Like — I had a room booked, invitations, an ivory silk dress about to be altered at Bendels. Relatives had purchased air travel; my family had hosted an intimate engagement party. The event was impeccably in place — except I had the wrong groom. If this is you, please know it’s okay to call it all off; we’re not talking plans for a Sweet 16 that lasts one night, you are setting the stage for a whole life!

Two months later. I met sexy, witty, relaxed Chuck, a man who does not own a blue blazer, smelled good and felt right instantly, in heart and mind and other places. He still does after raising four sons together and 23 years of marriage.

You can take a couple crucial clues from my botched first engagement on what to watch for when you are gauging whether you should spend forever with someone and bear his children. There should be emotional and sexual crackle between you, whether you are in Indianapolis or Honduras or Paris.

There are many more lessons for brides on the pages of my new book that examines long marriages, The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes To Stay Married. The happiest women are still hot for their mates, even when they loathe them. A handful of other wives married men with whom they never felt sexual crackle, or even enjoyed easy friendships. They went ahead with their weddings because they felt family pressure and/or were in love with pomp and not with their grooms. Yet, they have managed to keep their relationships intact mostly for the sake of their children and grandchildren. Some are seeking sex and companionship elsewhere, a stressful and guilt-ridden way to live.

I advise every bride-to-be to take a week or two and travel with your fiancé. You, too, may discover not a partner but a stranger, bristly and cool. Maybe your engagement was like mine, heady and rushed. The vehemence in which he pursued me was flattering and hard to resist.

I never felt powerfully attracted to him and should have seen that as an early warning sign. But he was handsome enough and our physical intimacy was good enough. He was successful and wanted kids. When you are inching toward 30 and you have been a maid of honor three times and a bridesmaid four times, a candidate like this comes along and you think your knight has arrived. Everything was perfect, except us!

I know in retrospect that good enough is not enough reason to buy a wedding dress.

Don’t be afraid to pull the plug if it doesn’t feel right, even if the invitations are in the mail. Don’t worry what other people think of you, even if relatives end up being out a few hundred bucks for non-refundable plane fares. Just because you have the ring and the hotel room reserved, you do not have to get married if the day approaches and have found there is an absence of fun and of lust.

Marriage is meant to be forever and if you cannot say “I do” and mean it, don’t. I’m thinking of a line from one of my favorite old bands, The Isley Brothers, in which they sing, “It only takes a minute, girl, to fall in love.” It also only takes a minute, girl, to fall out of love — if it is wrong.

Marriage means sharing a bathroom, petulant teenagers, in-laws and bills. If you are not hot for each other and comfortable with each other from the start you will have a tough time enduring all the squabbling that ensues after you get the first few years, or first couple of decades, of togetherness under your belt.

Yes, a romp in the hay can make all your problems go away — at least temporarily. That, and the ability to feel loose and relaxed and fully yourself with a person is what you want. You want to feel like you are home together, no matter where you are.

I am grateful to that girl in the blue jean skirt who listened to her gut and saw the light in the City of Love.

Article written by: Iris Krasnow

I Resign

I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult.
I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 8-year-old again.
I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a four star restaurant.
I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples with rocks.
I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them.
I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer day.
I want to return to a time when life was simple.
When all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care.

All you knew was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset.
I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good.
I want to believe that anything is possible.
I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again.
I want to live simple again.
I don’t want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness, and loss of loved ones.

I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow.

So…here’s my checkbook and my car keys, my credit cards and all my responsibility.
I am officially resigning from adulthood. And if you want to discuss this further, you’ll have to catch me first, ’cause, “Tag! You’re it.”

In Defense of the High Maintenance Man

Much has been made of the High Maintenance Man in recent years — and it ain’t pretty.

Often criticized by style publications, gossip columns and even this illustrious website (“10 Signs He’s a High Maintenance Boyfriend“, May 2011), the High Maintenance Man has been ridiculed and lampooned for his unflinching devotion to dressing well and the great lengths he will go to achieve his desired look. He has been branded vain, selfish, superficial — and god forbid, feminine.

However, The High Maintenance Man has been deeply misunderstood and mischaracterized and it’s time to set the record straight.

So who is The High Maintenance Man? Let’s start with who he isn’t.

The High Maintenance Man is not the Metrosexual, Retrosexual, Eurosexual or any of their kind. He is not the man who squats to pee, frosts the tips of his coiffed hair, or achieves a tan by spraying it on himself. He is not American Psycho, a Commonwealth prince or Brüno.

The High Maintenance Man is the man who takes his time to dress and groom, and generally maintains a high standard in his own appearance and conduct. A cursory glance at the history of American menswear will reveal that the High Maintenance Man is not a recent novelty. He is the same man from the twenties, the forties, the sixties. He is Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, Kanye West, Don Draper. The High Maintenance Man has been an athlete, a blue-collar bloke, a hunter; you just wouldn’t know it to see him wearing his three-piece suit to dinner.

The High Maintenance Man understands the significance of what he wears. He knows that a shorter jacket will visually lengthen a short man; that bright colors will wash out a fair complexion; that sport socks should only be worn when playing sports; that tailoring is essential for most outfits; and that women aren’t impressed by ironic t-shirts — not even in an ironic way.

The High Maintenance Man appreciates that dressing well and wearing clothes that flatter is a great source of confidence, and that confidence is the main ingredient for success.

He will often wear a pocket square — not for any practical reason — but rather because that is the original and sole purpose of the left breast pocket on a jacket (look it up.)

He might, on occasion, wear a bowtie; though always self-tied, and never with comic intent.

While the High Maintenance Man may, from time to time indulge in a manicure, he would never refer to that ritual as a “mani” and certainly not in the same breath as “pedi.”

The High Maintenance Man can sometimes take excessively long to dress for a special occasion. While he would never wear this distinction as a badge of honor, he realizes that this can be the price to pay for making the best possible wardrobe choices. Women have known about this payoff for centuries.

Above all, the High Maintenance Man understands that dressing well and behaving well are signs of respect to others. To be the best-dressed gentleman at a party is not an act of braggery or bravado — it is a show of respect to one’s host or to a significant other. To restore a sense of formality and occasion is a gesture of courtesy, admiration and even love to those whose company the High Maintenance Man shares.

America is a casual nation, there is no doubt. It can be argued that this is one of her great achievements; that she abandoned classist European ideals and elitist fashion in lieu of a truly equal society, one where all her citizens are free to dress as they please — even if that means wearing track pants and bedazzled t-shirts to the grocery store.

Yet we’ve witnessed a startling and precipitous decline in the formality of men’s style over the past forty years. America is generally considered the worst-dressed western nation, and American male tourists have earned a notoriety in foreign countries for their schlubby fashion choices while traveling abroad. Along with this decline in formality, a troubling, homegrown reverse discrimination has emerged in recent years against men who strive to dress well.

Fortunately, the High Maintenance Man is also a dreamer, and he will never relinquish hope that one day we will return to a time when men cared about the way they looked and behaved. And if that happens to involve fewer men wearing their pajamas to the bank, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.