Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine's Day, photo by Michal Koralewski, Gniezno, Poland, day of loveToday is the day of love. Some people criticise the practise because they believe it is too commercialised. Other people enjoy the romantic and sensual mood of the day. It was once the role of the male to send flowers, chocolates and poetry to the female, often it was an anonymous gesture, creating intrigue. Nowadays it is something both men and women do for each other. It is a ritual that enhances relationships. Unless both partners dislike celebrating the day of love, then it is worthwhile to participate in the celebration.

Bruce felt that it was ridiculous to
celebrate Valentine’s Day
Vicki was looking forward to
receiving some show of affection
on the day of love from her new partner
somehow he had managed to avoid it
on previous occasions but she had
made it clear that it was important to her
Bruce ordered the works
flowers, perfume, choice words in the card
and dinner for two at a romantic restaurant
why? because he is a smart bloke and
values the relationship enough to
do the right thing when he is made aware
just as Vicki has done with his wishes
such as fishing with the mates on the
first Sunday of the month and the
regular card night at their place
with her playing the hostess
this exchange of favours to satisfy
each others desires is what makes
their relationship special

Happy Valentine’s Day, photo by Michal Koralewski, Gniezno, Poland, day of love

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Relationship checklist

from:New York Times

Heart, photo by Michael Bretherton, Brisbane, Australia, customised relationshipsQuestions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying
Published: December 17, 2006
Relationship experts report that too many couples fail to ask each other critical questions before marrying. Here are a few key ones that couples should consider asking:

1) Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?

2) Do we have a clear idea of each other’s financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?

3) Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?

4) Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?

5) Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?

6) Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?

7) Will there be a television in the bedroom?

8) Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?

9) Have we reached a clear understanding of each other’s spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?

10) Do we like and respect each other’s friends?

11) Do we value and respect each other’s parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?

12) What does my family do that annoys you?

13) Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?

14) If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the other’s family, are we prepared to move?

15) Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?

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Notice of Intended Marriage

Kiss, photo by Hobbes Yeo, Singapore, wedding ceremonyIt is important to remember that when you plan to get married, you need to make a Notice of Intended Marriage application which is witnessed by your Marriage Celebrant (or an authorised official) no later than 1 month and 1 day before the intended marriage date. The celebrant will also need to view your birth certificates and divorce documents (if applicable). If you’re born overseas, a passport and statutory declaration can be accepted if you don’t have a birth certificate. There is no chance that the celebrant can shorten the period to less than the 1 month and 1 day which is required by law. However, the celebrant can write a letter explaining your circumstances which you both could take to your local court for approval of shortening of time. This approval is not easily gained, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Both parties need to be applying before the minimum required time, so be prepared.

she phoned me 2 weeks before New Year’s Eve
and asked me to conduct their wedding at midnight
what’s more she wanted it to be a surprise for him
she assured me that he always wanted them to marry
and all their friends could confirm it, if necessary
I refused saying that it was outside the minimum time
and that both parties needed to sign the
Notice of Intended Marriage before that period
she was angry about my response but
celebrants have no choice in this matter

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Blueprint for your ideal relationship

Tourists checking a map, photo by Jorc Navarro, Barcelona, Spain, planning relationshipsBlueprints are commonly used for important productions, everything from buildings to machinery to gardens and so on. Otherwise known as plans and/or designs, it’s not unusual for people to expect this for successful outcomes. It is easy to have a fulfilling relationship if you are both willing to make a blueprint for your ideal relationship. It means planning at the beginning of the relationship what you want and what you don’t want in your life together. Then making an agreement to go to any lengths to resolve conflict early before it contaminates everything and to nurture your loving relationship. Maintenance is what we do to keep a beautiful garden, or home or car and it’s also what we need to do for our relationships.

they met through a mutual friend and
their relationship strengthened day by day
when he proposed she was not surprised
although they seemed in agreement about
the type of lifestyle they valued
they worked out what was
acceptable and what wasn’t
and how to sort out conflict
a blueprint for their ideal relationship
and it’s paid off because they’ve
had a healthy balance in their relationship
of being friends and lovers
and this has lasted many years
through the ups and downs of life

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Devil woman

Paper devil, photo by Brian S, Jakarta Indonesia, no faultHow often have we heard “the devil made me do it”? In actual fact we make choices and sometimes we regret these choices and find it necessary to blame others in order to save face. This is especially the case when the consequences are not wanted. No one can make us feel anything we don’t want to – we allow them to make us feel in a certain way.

he had cheated before but convinced his wife that
it wouldn’t happen again and she believed him
then one day he disappeared with his best friend’s wife
she suffered for two weeks not knowing where he was
then he came back and professed his love for her
insisting that he did not love the other woman
but that she had thrown herself at him and
eventually he weakened and gave into her spell
the devil woman made him do it
that was the line that convinced his wife
it was impossible for them to
have a happy life together so she ended it
to this day he cries over being dumped by her
and his friends actually feel sorry for him!

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Soulmate

Amor junto al río, photo by Hernan Herrero, Capital Federal, Argentina, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/364492, loving relationshipSuccessful relationships can take place between people who are not soulmates. This is because soulmates can sometimes be just good friends. Nevertheless, when a loving relationship involves a lover who is also a soulmate then it is considered by some to be ideal. So if you’re searching for the ideal partner make a list of all the pros and cons of such a person – it is important to show both what you want and what you don’t want in a relationship. In doing that you raise your awareness of the type of person that will suit you best. Everything in life needs a blueprint and likewise relationships do too. Make sure that you are meticulous in making your list and then affirm it by thinking positive about finding your soulmate and life partner.

he had been unlucky in his choice of partners
someone who had appeared to be a soulmate
turned out to be codependent hell
he wanted to stop repeating this mistake
his life coach suggested he make a written list
of the likes and dislikes he had about
a future loving relationship
she said it was a phenomenon that worked
but she stressed that he make sure he
does not leave anything out from the list
he laughed because he thought it stupid
but he did it because she’d been right before
about some important things
not long after he found his wife and soulmate
and ten years later they have a life
he wouldn’t have believed was possible
children, security, love, fun and
above all sanity and serenity

Amor junto al río, photo by Hernan Herrero, Capital Federal, Argentina

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13th Step love

Together, photo by Puiu Adriana Mirabela, Bucharest, Romania,  loving fellowshipPeople who find recovery from addictions in a 12 Step program create close loving friendships together, which is the basis for this fellowship. It’s known that some members also find a soulmate or life partner in the 12 Step fellowship, when both partners have a strong recovery and are ready for an intimate relationship. In such cases a life partnership is rewarding because they share a way of life which they understand and which enhances their recovery choices. However, people need to be vigilant about 13th Step love. That’s what they call it when someone who is experienced with the 12 Step program gets involved with a member in recovery who is vulnerable and who is usually a new member (also see my other posts on the 13th Step which is the unofficial term for this involvement).

he resisted his feelings about her because
she was new in recovery and he was her guide
he had many years in the 12 Step fellowship
and was grateful for the sanity and serenity he had
but he was fooled about her level of recovery
because it was not her first time in the program
so when their relationship became intimate he had
hopeful plans for their future together
but then she relapsed and he realised
it had only been a 13th Step love
he took responsibility for the mistake as he was the more
experienced one and had needed to be more aware
she was now a ‘runaway train’ with her addiction and
they suffered in more ways than one
a painful lesson for both

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Wedding presents

Wedding gifts, photo by Gary Scott, Cambridge, Canada, wedding wishesWhen two people get married, guests share the happy event by giving wedding presents. The size and expense depends on the giver’s budget and their closeness to the couple. Nowadays, in this country, the couple chooses a store where they set up a register and the guests can go and buy whatever items the couple want. The purchasing process is made easier that way and duplications are avoided.

as we discussed their wedding plans
the bride mentioned that they had
even chosen the store for the register
and it was one which had a variety of prices
so that the wedding presents could even
be bought for a reasonable price
this was especially good because their guests
varied in financial circumstances so that
some could afford expensive presents
and others could not
this was a smart choice

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Nothing is as it appears

Jaguar, photo by Kristof Degreef, Nieuwerkerken, Belgium, feline fancyThe jaguar is popular and as people admire its beauty they forget how dangerous it can be. Nothing is as it appears. Within seconds it’s capable of ripping its prey apart, as many animals can do. To a certain degree the same can be said of the human animal. Usually humans try to present a persona which is attractive, lovable, and successful so that they can get what they want. Some though are dangerous because they can easily become violent, either emotionally or physically or both. Prevention is best – we need to go gently into a new relationship until we are sure of the other person’s temperament. We also need to be prepared to get out of the relationship fast if it proves inappropriate and not wait until it’s so dangerous that we can get hurt.

they came to see me and by the end of the session
it became apparent that he was not willing to change
even though he had violent tendencies
and she was not ready to leave him
when they came back to see me I made it clear
that I could not see them together any more
because it was as though I was holding her hand
while he continued to be violent with her
I recommended that she contact the Helpline
for this type of dangerous behaviour and
stressed that her life depended on
her taking urgent action, my words annoyed him
she came back months later and wanted
to undergo therapy on her own as
she had legally removed him from her life
she had a pattern of attracting similar types
and she wanted to stop, so we began the work
today she lives the life she’s always wanted

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Maintain vigilance

Owl eyes, photo by Kristof Degreef, Nieuwerkerken, Belgium, nothing missedOne human weakness is the need to stop doing what works when things are going well. Usually people who have found their sanity by taking the relevant medication will, against medical advice, stop taking the medication when they feel well, with horrendous consequences. Others will find solutions to their problems through counselling and once the situation improves they stop doing what was necessary to achieve the results, again with horrendous consequences. We need to keep vigilant about unacceptable changes in our wellbeing and once we find solutions then also maintain vigilance to ensure that improvements are not lost.

the last time I saw them they had after a few sessions
resolved their difficulties and made a checklist of what
they had done to sort things out so that they could
continue what worked and maintain the improvement
intelligent, successful, people meant commitment to
the system for success, or so you’d think
why should they be any different to the rest of us
a human frailty is becoming overconfident
and stopping what works
it can happen to me too if I don’t maintain
the vigilance and even then I am prone!
a year later they were back almost ready to divorce and
full of resentment, anger, defensiveness and vengeance
they had time to each tell their version of the problem
having expressed themselves we looked at their checklist
maybe one or two items had been maintained
but the rest had been grossly neglected
although it seemed hopeless we began again
and bit by bit things got turned around
after a few sessions they were back on track
back to basics always works yet we have
a tendency to complicate things

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