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Top 7 Strategies for a Successful, Committed Relationship October 27, 2010

Posted by franciecooper in life coaching, life lessons, Uncategorized.
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All month we’ve been exploring the importance of commitment to self. So this week, let’s switch it up a little and look at what it takes to be successfully committed to another, specifically a spouse, life partner or significant other.

There’s a great, relatively new book, for better – the science of a good marriage, by Tara Parker-Pope, that summarizes the current research on the positive steps we can take to keep a relationship healthy. In this well-researched work, Parker-Pope points out, “Researchers have identified several small, positive changes on which couples can focus that have the potential to reap big rewards in overall satisfaction with your marriage… Good marriages require daily maintenance and positive feedback to help couples stay connected.”

Parker-Pope distills the findings of several studies to come up with seven strategies to stay happy and bolster the strength of a relationship:

  1. Celebrate Good News – “Research shows that couples who regularly celebrate the good times have higher level of commitment, intimacy, trust and relationship satisfaction.” Bust out the champagne!
  2. Know the Mathematics of Marriage – “In stable marriages, there are at least five times more positive interactions than negative ones… Sometimes the positive are spoken, “You look nice today, honey.” Sometimes they’re gestures – pats on the hand or back, a hug, a tousle of the hair, a kiss for no reason.”
  3. Keep Your Standards High – According to a study by University of North Carolina psychologist Donald H. Baucom, couples who expect a lot from their relationships tend to get exactly what they ask for.
  4. Pay Attention to Family and Friends – “The happiest couples are those who have interests and support beyond the twosome.”
  5. Don’t Expect Your Spouse to Make You Happy – “Marriage triggers an initial boost in happiness, but after about two years, people, on average, settle back to the same level of happiness they had prior to marriage.”
  6. Just Do It – “Over time, regular sex can improve your mood, make you more patient, damp down anger, and leads to a better, more hapcontented relationship.”
  7. Reignite Romance – “Protect your marriage by regularly trying new things and sharing new experiences with your spouse.”

So how ‘bout it friends? How many of these do you apply on a regular basis? My suggestion this week is that you take an honest look at which of these tips you’re using and which you’re not, then make a plan on how you can integrate them into your life with your beloved. Better yet, email this to him or her with a note that says, “Hi, honey. I love you and would love to talk about these! Want to go on a date tonight?”

– Francie Cooper

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Introducing TapaPalapa.com! October 21, 2010

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I’m excited to introduce my new project – TapaPalapa.com! It’s a weekly podcast with my colleague Steve Coxsey on lots of different, fun, inspiring topics!  We didn’t think we’d launch ’til January, but we had a test session yesterday and decided to publish it.  Hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen in on our first, unedited, raw preview.

The Business of Commitment October 15, 2010

Posted by franciecooper in life coaching, life lessons, Uncategorized.
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What level of commitment does it take to create a successful business empire? In talking with my son last night, whose employer is fashion icon Ralph Lauren, he explained the complicated structure of a corporation with more than 14,000 employees and a value of $4.97 billion. It was mind-boggling and imagination-expanding and the business of commitment took on a whole new meaning.

I’m fascinated by the American Dream story of my son’s boss. Ralph Lauren was born Ralph Lifshitz on October 14, 1939, in the Bronx, New York. He was the youngest of four boys in a middle-class Jewish family. Apparently his sense of fashion was obvious at age 12 when he got an after-school job and used his extra money to buy expensive, name-brand suits.

After graduating high school, spending some time at City College of New York, and serving a stint in the Army, he married and got a job at A. Rivetz and Co., while designing neckties on the side. Lauren took his line of wide, colorful ties to Bloomingdale’s. They insisted Lauren remove his name from the ties’ label and make his ties narrower. Not giving into the retail giant, Lauren stuck to his guns and refused to sell to the department store under such circumstances. The rest, as they say, is history.

So, back to my theme for this month, what level of commitment does it take to create this type of business enterprise? How does one parlay a necktie design into a multi-billion dollar company?

It seems to me it still goes back to commitment to self. If he had caved, succumbed to the demand to change his aesthetic, given up his name, had not been committed to his own dream, and had not been confident in his sense of self, Ralph Lauren would not be the household name it is today.

So, this week, make that commitment to listen to your own voice. Muster the confidence to believe in your own dreams, follow your own heart, stand up for who you are. You could be the next Ralph Lauren in whatever business you commit to create.

For other inspiring stories, check out this story from Entrepreneur.

– Francie Cooper

The Other C Word – Commitment October 6, 2010

Posted by franciecooper in life coaching, life lessons, Uncategorized.
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Who or what are you committed to? Some of us commit ourselves to our partners, children, best friends, colleagues, extended families, neighbors, church, the environment, etc.

All of those are extremely important, and we’ll discuss them later this month. But first, I’d like to start with the most important commitment of all – yes, I know you’re way ahead of me – it’s your commitment to yourself.

Why is it we easily and readily show love & respect to everyone else by cheering them up when things look down, celebrating when life is good, or bolstering self-esteem when fear starts taking over? Yet, when it comes to doing these same things for ourselves, our commitment may not be so certain.

This week make that commitment to take care of yourself, as you would your best friend.  Try these three easy steps:

1.  Ask yourself questions.  Don’t you normally inquire about your friends’ feelings, thoughts and days? Turn that attention to yourself. Try asking yourself about what’s going on with your body, energy or spirit. How do you feel today? Why? How can you care for yourself? Do you need sleep, healthy food, interaction, exercise, comforting?

Journaling every day is an effective way to ask yourself these questions. Bothersome as some of you find it, putting your thoughts down in writing helps clarify your feelings and allows you to really pay attention to what may be rattling around in your head.

2. Feed your Soul. Make time in your schedule for things you love. Give priority to some passion in your life, so the days don’t flow by in an endless To Do list of shoulds and chores. Pay attention to the activities that bring a smile to your face and give you that overwhelming fabulous feeling of “This is life!” Make note of those life-affirming joys and then make time to do more of them.

3.  Live your Legacy. You make a difference every day. Decide what you want that difference to be. Think about the legacy you’d like to leave. How do you want to be remembered? What values do you want your life to reflect? Increase the actions that are aligned with that path. Decrease the actions that harm or distract. 

I know I’m asking a lot. Making a commitment to care for yourself requires thought, honesty, love and growth. I’m asking you to be completely in tune with how you feel, what you love and what you want from life. It takes a gutsy person to take on that challenge. But you know what? I know you can do it and you’re worth it!

– Francie Cooper