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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Include Friends on a Get-Away

To add a little fun to some of your get-aways, invite friends to go along sometimes. Last Friday we took Paul and Jean Strom to a pasta lunch in the foothills an hour's drive from our home. We caught up on what they have been doing and enjoyed sharing our stories. They took us on roads we had not yet explored. Flowers covered acres that climbed up a hill to vineyards beyond. Beautiful oak trees seemed to be painted into the background.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

More Dating Wisdom

The subtitle in Dr. Kenneth Ryan's book, "Finding Your Prince In a Sea of Toads" is "How to Find a Quality Guy Without Getting Your Heart Shredded." The book offers 86 short chapters full of wisdom for people who are looking for satisfying life-long relationships.

An example is Chapter 31, "Men Are Microwaves, Women Are Crockpots". Dr. Ryan uses this analogy to explain the fundamental difference between men and women's sexuality. If men want to learn to be good lovers "they must learn to be slow subtle, and nuanced." There are many chapters giving excellent advice on the role of sex in relationship. Section Three of the book warns "Don't Sleep with Him--Why Not". Section Four: "Don't Sleep with Him--How Not".

Dr. Ryan offers important advice on relationship at a time when our culture has legitimized dating practices that are not likely to lead to satisfying life long soul mate relationships. It is especially helpful for young women who struggle with blending their values with their need for love.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dr. Kenneth Ryan Gives Dating Advice

"Finding Your Prince In a Sea of Toads" struck me as a very clever title. Author of the book by that title, Dr. Kenneth Ryan, and his wife have been counseling engaged couples for years. He has written a book of advice for women on dating.

He focuses on the top five mistakes he believes women make. Here are his five top mistakes:
Don't be too passive.
Don't be too aggressive.
Don't be naive about men.
Don't panic.
Don't sleep with the boy friend.

"Dr. Ryan started writing for his three daughters--everything that they need to know about the truth of relationships and sex so they will be two steps ahead of any guy they might date," according to his publicist. Does anyone know everything they need to know about the truth of relationships and sex? We think we know, but a life time isn't long enough to really know. That's what makes relationships intriguing and challenging.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Edward and Alisha's Story

We met in 2002. The course of our lives had already been set. We knew we loved each other from the moment we met. However, our relationship was filled with challenges that we were ill equipped to deal with.

My relationships with women began when I was 21 when my first child was born.. I proceeded to have six children with three other women. I would keep thinking I was making the right choice. They were not the women who were right for me. The differences between us were so great and we were horribly unskilled. Each one of these relationships created great pain for all of us.

When I met Alisha she already had a three year old and was two months pregnant with another man's child.I knew she was the right woman for me. We have had three children together for a total of eleven children. You may wonder how we got into this mess. We wonder also. The answer comes from our families.

My parents never married. They were never with anyone for long. My mother raised eight children with seven different dads. She raised them all by herself. To have this many kids with this many men means that there were always men coming and going in my life and family. Once a week my dad would pick me up and drop me off at my Grannie's house. I never had any time with him. After my Grannie died when I was 13, my dad picked me up once a year on my birthday and took me around to the clubs where he played. He would feed me drinks and drugs. No wonder I did not have a clue on how to form a family. I never felt like I belonged to anyone.

Alisha did not fare much better. Her mom was in love with alcohol and men. When Alisha would ask about her father, her mother said, "I don't know who your father is. It could be one of two men." Alisha never learned who her father was. In this situation she felt absolutely unlovable.

We now know that we knew very little about how to form a family. We both believed we were right and we were out to prove it. This system made us and our children very unhappy. We ended up yelling at each other nightly.

Through the Relationship Skills Center we heard about the Flourishing Families Program from Birth and Beyond. Alisha was very excited about the program and we both decided to go. I had no idea what a difference a class like this would have on me, our relationship and our family. We have stopped arguing and can now talk about our differences. We learned how to create a dialogue. We can communicate and take the time to see each other's point of view. The best part of all is what is happening with our children. They are doing better in school and getting into less trouble. We are breaking the cycle of abandonment and neglect in our family. We are getting married and we will be together forever!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Relationship Skills Center Offers Hope

The Relationship Skills Center in Sacramento began with an organizational meeting sponsored by "Healthy Marriages", a national group promoting education and support for good marriages. Since that time Carolyn Rich Curtis, Ph.D has led a group of hard working volunteers in creating and nurturing an educational relationship center which has reached out to struggling couples. Here is the stated purpose of the organization:

Relationships and marriages thrive in our community

We promote the development of healthy, safe, and stable families where children thrive.

1. To promote the sustainable development of strong, safe, and stable families among those at-risk.
2. To teach young people the skills necessary for forming and sustaining healthy relationships.
3. To support couples as they transition from being a couple to a healthy family.

Look for a story from a couple whose lives changed after attending one of their classes.