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  1. Being widowed, divorced or never married increases the risk of heart disease. Being married may reduce the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular death, a review of studies has found. Researchers pooled data on more than two million participants in 34 studies carried out in the United States, Britain, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Spain, Greece and eight other countries. They found that compared with married people, those who were unmarried — whether never married, widowed or divorced — were 42 percent more likely to have some form of cardiovascular disease and 16 percent more likely to have coronary heart disease. The unmarried also had a 43 percent increased likelihood of coronary heart disease death and a 55 percent increased risk for death from stroke. Stroke risk was increased for the unmarried and divorced, but not for the widowed. Read more:
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  2. He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not. Does your life ever feel like this? Sometimes it's amazing. Sometimes it's less than desirable? Do you ever feel this way toward your partner? Sometimes adoring everything about them and sometimes looking for the exit? There are several habits that take us out of the fun, excitement, and joy of relationships and draw us into the trauma and drama that so often destroys them. If you would like your relationship to thrive continually, to be continuously growing, lose these five common relationship-ruining habits: 1. Looking for what's wrong How often do you focus on what's wrong? What's wrong with your partner, what's wrong with your relationship, and what's wrong with you? Judgment is the No. 1 relationship killer. Judging the wrongness of you, your partner, and your relationship will ruin it faster than anything. If you have fallen into the habit of looking for what's wrong, a great question you can ask is, "What's right about this that I'm not getting?" You can also ask, "What's right about my partner that I'm not getting?" And, "What's right about me that I'm not getting?" Asking these questions will take you from looking for what's wrong to having gratitude for all it. And gratitude is the antidote for judgment. 2. Mimicking other relationships Often we try to mimic the relationship of others. Maybe we think that there's a right way and a wrong way to do relationships, so we try to figure out the right way and copy that. Or, maybe we see a relationship that is working well and we decide that they've figured it out and we try to duplicate what's working for them. This only leads to frustration and more judgment of you and your partner because your relationship will not be like anyone else's. You need to do what works for you. My friend Gary Douglas, who's also the founder of Access Consciousness®, tells a story about a toothpaste tube. Gary likes to squeeze the toothpaste tube from the bottom. His wife, however, likes to squeeze it in the middle. After 16 years of irritation over the toothpaste tube, he had an epiphany. Oh! We could have two tubes of toothpaste. What if you could stop looking at relationships based on what everyone else is doing and ask, "What's the most pragmatic solution I can have here?" You might just find choices and solutions you never considered before! 3. Giving yourself up in the relationship How many times have you entered a relationship only to find that a few weeks in, everything has become about the other person? You stop doing what's fun for you. You stop hanging out with people you enjoy. Your life becomes all about your partner, and you give up more of yourself than you bargained for. This never works! You are the most valuable ingredient in your relationship. If you take yourself out, the relationship doesn't have a chance. Keep you in the relationship. Continue to do what you enjoy. Choose to spend time with people that you value and that value you. This adds to your relationships. It doesn't take away. If you've stopped doing what you enjoy and stopped connecting with friends, you can start again today! Begin by taking one hour each day to do what you love. 4. Replaying the mistakes of the past Do you ever wake up in the morning and the first thing you remember is how your partner messed up yesterday? Maybe they forgot to do something you wanted them to do. Maybe they were cranky and took it out on you. Whatever happened yesterday and every day before that, rather than replaying it in your head, could you let it go? An effective way do this is, every morning when you wake up, is to destroy and uncreate your relationship. To destroy and uncreate your relationship doesn't mean to end the relationship. It means to end the judgment, the expectations, and the resentment that kill your relationship so that you can have all the joy of your relationship. Every day say, "Everything that our relationship was yesterday, all the judgments, all the conclusions, all the expectations, I let those go now." Use this tool and notice that every day the relationship is even better than it was the day before. 5. Getting into a relationship rut Have you lost the fun and excitement that was there in the beginning of your relationship? Do you find yourself sometimes bored? Wondering what's next? Wishing you could ignite the spark again? If that describes your relationship, you can change it! Make the choice daily to be in your relationship. If you do this, you will move from existing in the relationship back into the creativity, fun, and excitement that was there when it first began. Whether your relationship is new or one you've been in for many years, it can still be fun, playful, and enjoyable. It's never too late to let go of the destructive habits that ruin relationships and begin to create something that works. Choose gratitude. Choose to keep yourself in the relationship. Let go of the judgments, expectations, and conclusions that you may have picked up along the way and allow the sense of wonder, creativity, and adventure to be your relationship reality. By Dr. Dain Hair/MBG
  3. Here’s what they are: 1. Be together for the right reasons Don’t ever be with someone because someone else pressured you to. I got married the first time because I was raised Catholic and that’s what you were supposed to do. Wrong. I got married the second time because I was miserable and lonely and thought having a loving wife would fix everything for me. Also wrong. Took me three tries to figure out what should have been obvious from the beginning, the only reason you should ever be with the person you’re with is because you simply love being around them. It really is that simple. – Greg Before we even get into what you should do in your relationship, let’s start with what not to do. When I sent out my request to readers for advice, I added a caveat that turned out to be illuminating. I asked people who were on their second or third (or fourth) marriages what they did wrong. Where did they mess up? By far, the most common answer was “being with the person for the wrong reasons.” Some of these wrong reasons included: Pressure from friends and family Feeling like a “loser” because they were single and settling for the first person that came along Being together for image—because the relationship looked good on paper (or in photos), not because the two people actually admired each other Being young and naive and hopelessly in love and thinking that love would solve everything As we’ll see throughout the rest of this article, everything that makes a relationship “work” (and by work, I mean that it is happy and sustainable for both people involved) requires a genuine, deep-level admiration for each other. Without that mutual admiration, everything else will unravel. The other “wrong” reason to enter into a relationship is, like Greg said, to “fix” yourself. This desire to use the love of someone else to soothe your own emotional problems inevitably leads to codependence, an unhealthy and damaging dynamic between two people where they tacitly agree to use each other’s love as a distraction from their own self-loathing. We’ll get more into codependence later in this article, but for now, it’s useful to point out that love, itself, is neutral. It is something that can be both healthy or unhealthy, helpful or harmful, depending on why and how you love someone else and are loved by someone else. By itself, love is never enough to sustain a relationship. Read more:
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  4. This is real controversy. But just one among many that came from Watchtower GB spiritual food table. JW living in "spiritual paradise" under rules like this one. :(( Questions from readers - WT magazine January 1 1972 Do homosexual acts on the part of a married person constitute a Scriptural ground for divorce, freeing the innocent mate to remarry? —U.S.A. Homosexuality is definitely condemned in the Bible as something that will prevent individuals from gaining God’s approval. (1 Cor. 6:9, 10) However, whether an innocent mate would Scripturally be able to remarry after procuring a legal divorce from a mate guilty of homosexual acts must be determined on the basis of what the Bible says respecting divorce and remarriage. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus Christ said: “Everyone divorcing his wife, except on account of fornication, makes her a subject for adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." (Matt. 5:32) On a later occasion he told the Pharisees: “Whoever divorces his wife, except on the ground of fornication, and marries another commits adultery." —Matt. 19:9. Thus “fornication" is seen to be the only ground for divorce that frees the innocent mate to remarry. The Greek word for fornication is porneia. It can refer to illicit sexual relations between either married or unmarried persons. The ancient Greeks, in rare instances, may have understood this term to denote acts other than illicit sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. But the sense in which Jesus used the word porneia at Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 must be ascertained from the context. It should be noted that in Matthew chapters 5 and 19 “fornication" is used in the restricted sense of marital unfaithfulness, or illicit relations with another person not one’s marriage mate. Just before bringing up the matter of divorce in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ pointed out that “everyone [married] that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5:28) Consequently, when he afterward alluded to a woman’s committing fornication, his listeners would have understood this in its relative sense, namely, as signifying a married woman’s prostitution or adultery. The context of Matthew chapter 19 confirms this conclusion. On the basis of the Hebrew Scriptures, Jesus pointed out that a man and his wife became “one flesh,” and then added: “What God has yoked together let no man put apart.” (Matt. 19:5, 6) Now, in homosexual acts the sex organs are used in an unnatural way, in a way for which they were never purposed. Two persons of the same sex are not complements of each other, as Adam and Eve were. They could never become “one flesh”־ in order to procreate. It might be added, in the case of human copulation with a beast, two different kinds of flesh are involved. Wrote the apostle Paul: “Not all flesh is the same flesh, but there is one of mankind, and there is another flesh of cattle, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.1— ״ Cor. 15:39. While both homosexuality and bestiality are disgusting perversions, in the case of neither one is the marriage tie broken. It is broken only by acts that make an individual “one flesh” with a person of the opposite sex other than his or her legal marriage mate.
  5. How long should a couple date before marriage?
  6. Jack Ryan

    Marriage

    There was a man who said, "I never knew what happiness was until I got married...and then it was too late!" Love is one long sweet dream, and marriage is the alarm clock. They say when a man holds a woman's hand before marriage, it is love; after marriage, it is self-defense. When a newly married man looks happy, we know why. But when a ten-year married man looks happy, we wonder why. There was this lover who said that he would go through hell for her. They got married, and now he is going through hell. A Code of Honor: Never approach a friend's girlfriend or wife with mischief as your goal. There are just too many women in the world to justify that sort of dishonorable behavior. Unless she's really attractive. -- Bruce Friedman A coward is a hero with a wife, kids, and a mortgage. -- Marvin Kitman A gentleman is one who never swears at his wife while ladies are present. A husband is living proof that a wife can take a joke. A husband is what's left of the lover after the nerve has been extracted. Marriage is like a mousetrap. Those on the outside are trying to get in. Those on the inside are trying to get out. Marriage is low down, but you spend the rest of your life paying for it. Marriage is the process of finding out what kind of man your wife would have preferred. Marriage is the sole cause of divorce. Marriage means commitment. Of course, so does insanity. Marriage still confers one very special privilege - only a married person can get divorced. Marriage: A ceremony in which rings are put on the finger of the lady and around the hands and feet of the man. Marriage: the only sport in which the trapped animal has to buy the license. Marriages are made in heaven and consummated on Earth.
  7. Jack Ryan

    Marriage Phrases

    There was a man who said, "I never knew what happiness was until I got married...and then it was too late!" Love is one long sweet dream, and marriage is the alarm clock. They say when a man holds a woman's hand before marriage, it is love; after marriage, it is self-defense. When a newly married man looks happy, we know why. But when a ten-year married man looks happy, we wonder why. There was this lover who said that he would go through hell for her. They got married, and now he is going through hell. A Code of Honor: Never approach a friend's girlfriend or wife with mischief as your goal. There are just too many women in the world to justify that sort of dishonorable behavior. Unless she's really attractive. -- Bruce Friedman A coward is a hero with a wife, kids, and a mortgage. -- Marvin Kitman A gentleman is one who never swears at his wife while ladies are present. A husband is living proof that a wife can take a joke. A husband is what's left of the lover after the nerve has been extracted. -Marriage quotes2// Marriage is like a mousetrap. Those on the outside are trying to get in. Those on the inside are trying to get out. Marriage is low down, but you spend the rest of your life paying for it. Marriage is the process of finding out what kind of man your wife would have preferred. Marriage is the sole cause of divorce. Marriage means commitment. Of course, so does insanity. Marriage still confers one very special privilege - only a married person can get divorced. Marriage: A ceremony in which rings are put on the finger of the lady and around the hands and feet of the man. Marriage: the only sport in which the trapped animal has to buy the license. Marriages are made in heaven and consummated on Earth.
  8. Bible Speaks

    Happiness in Marriage 💞💍💞

    "There exists the one speaking thoughtlessly as with the stabs of a sword, but the tongue of the wise ones is a healing."—Prov. 12:18. 2015/8/19
  9. James Thomas Rook Jr.

    Friends ... with "benefits"?

    Since the Society does NOT recognize Civil Divorces if there is no adultery, and considers a couple to STILL BE MARRIED ... if a man and wife get divorced civilly ONLY ( perhaps for some economic reason, like bankruptcy, or estate management .... or they cannot stand each other more than a few hours a week .. (health reasons (?)) ... and they still shack up (friends, with benefits..) does the Society sanction these ones in any way? ( For those in Rio Linda ... "friends with benefits" means friends that have sex ...) ....
  10. (Eph 5:21-30) An aerialist catapults from his swinging trapeze and folds into a human ball as he somersaults through the air. He snaps out of the spin and extends his arms toward his partner, confident she will be there to catch him. However, his partner is mad at him and unwilling to support him. She refuses to play her role in this very important part of the act. The result is a failed performance, a shocked audience and an injured aerialist. This illustrates the effort required from both husband and wife in a marriage. It takes two to make the marriage a success. However, if one mate refuses to play their God given role as set out in the Bible, the result can be disastrous. We should never let petty differences, or disagreements keep us from doing what God requires of us as a husband or as a wife. This becomes even more important when there is an audience, such as kids, in the home. The way the mother treats the father or vise versa can have a huge effect on them. It could even influence what type of husband or wife they will be in the future. If each member applies the counsel found in the Bible and works together, the "show" can be a success.
  11. Nicole

    Swaying To The Music

    Cancer Does Not Stop Local Jehovah's Witness Couple Leslie and Jim Donigan attend the Jehovah's Witnesses conference today at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence, Missouri. (Mike Sherry | Flatland) At happy moments, Jim and Leslie Donigan often find themselves dancing to “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars,” the Andy Williams hit that has been their song since they first met at a pizza joint in Mission, Kansas, decades ago. One of those dance-worthy occasions took place late last year, at the end of a long medical journey. The memory remains strong, even though they have hit a recent bump in the road. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, they plan to attend the Midwest convention that runs today through Sunday at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence, Missouri. Organizers believe few attendees embody this year’s theme, “Don’t Give Up,” more than the Donigans, who are both 71 years old and live in Kansas City. About 5,000 people are expected to attend, said Craig Cochran, the convention’s media services coordinator. The ability to be part of a global experience of faith is important to the Donigans, as they once again face medical uncertainty. “It’s like a spiritual family reunion,” Jim said. A website for the religion says there are more than 8.3 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in 240 countries. According to the Pew Research Center, fewer than 1 percent of American adults are Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Don’t Give Up” is the them of this year’s Jehovah’s Witness conference. (Mike Sherry | Flatland) Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in God, who is called Jehovah. As Christians, they believe in heaven and salvation, but they do not believe in hell or eternal suffering. Witnesses, as followers are called, believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God. However, they recognize some parts are symbolic and do not believe all parts of the Bible are to be understood literally. Jehovah’s Witnesses also do not believe in blood transfusions, based upon their reading of passages in both the Old and New testaments. They cite Genesis 9:4, for example, where God says, “Only flesh with its soul — its blood — you must not eat.” No ‘Cowards in the Foxhole’ On Oct. 1, 2004, Leslie fainted. That was abnormal for her, a runner who lives a healthy lifestyle. Doctors could not pinpoint a cause, and later that month they understood why: They found a gastrointestinal stromal tumor, a rare cancer that leaves no blood marker. The tumor was growing on a section of the small intestine and was also threatening her pancreas. The belief about blood transfusions was an obvious complication when it came to surgery. So, the Donigans worked through a Jehovah’s Witnesses group in Brooklyn to find Dr. Marvin Romsdahl, a surgeon at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, who performed a modified version of a common surgery to remove pancreatic tumors. The modified version did not require a transfusion. The night before the surgery, the anesthesiologist backed out because of the risks of doing surgery without blood transfusions. “That’s good,” Jim told Romsdahl. “We don’t need any cowards in the foxhole.” The surgery lasted 13.5 hours, but it was successful. Yet further treatment included a prescription for the chemotherapy pill Gleevec. The cost of the therapy, which Leslie said at the time cost $2,500 per month, brought them to the breaking point, even after using Social Security and Medicare. “It’s always been more than we could swallow,” Jim said, “and progressively over time, it took everything.” More bad news hit in 2008, when Jim lost his banking job during the recession. They had to sell the house they had built nearly four decades before, the same house where they had raised their three children. But in one sliver of good news, a neighbor approached them during their garage sale and told them he would buy another house for sale on the block and then rent it to them. Things began to look up, as Jim found another job, Leslie qualified for a hardship program that allowed her to take Gleevec for free, and then got off the medication altogether when her cancer went into remission. The cancer returned, however, and Leslie must remain on Gleevec for the rest of her life. Now, Gleevec costs $13,000 per month, she said. Another Test In April 2016, the family was tested again, when Jim started having shortness of breath. Their first thought was a heart problem, but the first diagnosis was multiple myeloma, a form of incurable blood cancer. A second opinion was different, but not any better: a form of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which causes tumors to grow in the lymphatic system. A PET scan revealed 100 tumors, and Jim started his own costly round of chemotherapy. The Donigans vist with their son, Joel, and his wife, Carrie, at the conference. (Mike Sherry | Flatland) His lymphatic system failed during treatment, causing fluid buildup around his stomach and lungs. Jim suffered malnutrition when draining the fluid removed electrolytes and proteins. By October, doctors gave him two months to live. Leslie got it in writing. Yet as he sat in the hospital, saying his goodbyes, Jim had a thought: “Why couldn’t we take those fluids from my stomach and put them back into my heart, where they need to be?” The question sparked an idea for one of Jim’s doctors, who inserted a shunt normally used to treat cirrhosis. Within two weeks, the fluid buildup was gone. On Dec. 27, when he was home filing paperwork, Jim came across the letter telling him he only had two months to live. He did the math, and then they had an “I ain’t dead yet party.” At the party, Jim sipped his first glass of wine in a year, and the couple danced once again to their favorite song. The luster remained up until this week, when an infection flared up around the shunt, and the fear of cancer returned. This most recent medical challenge has shown Jim and Leslie how important their faith is in preparing them for the troubles that can lie ahead. The convention, and especially its theme, is coming at just the right time to help guide them through this newest trial, Leslie said. “No one is shielded from the human experience,” Leslie said. “But personally, we find it better to be prepared to keep these types of relapses in their proper perspective.” — Catherine Wheeler is a multimedia intern for Flatland. She is a graduate student studying journalism at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Catherine has a bachelor’s degree in English-Writing from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. She currently lives in Kansas City. You can reach her at cwheeler@kcpt.org
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  12. Friday's parliamentary vote in Berlin to recognize the right of same-sex couples to wed was a long-awaited victory for German liberals. But the vote was a defeat for the woman who seemed to have emerged as one of the country's most popular icons of liberalism: German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She welcomed over 1 million refugees, abandoned nuclear energy over safety fears and has urged President Trump to respect human rights. On Friday, however, Merkel voted against same-sex marriage, despite having paved the way to its recognition only days earlier. The anti-marriage-equality party line of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) had long prevented the law from being passed. But on Monday, the German chancellor cleared the way for the issue to win approval in the German Parliament by allowing lawmakers to choose according to their personal convictions after being pressured into a vote by the Social Democratic Party. “I would like to steer the discussion more toward the situation that it will be a question of conscience instead of me forcing something through by means of a majority vote,” Merkel said earlier this week. Read more:
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  13. The marriage bond is strengthened when each partner behaves as a lesser one. ????? "Let us pursue the things making for peace and the things that are upbuilding to one another."—Rom. 14:19.
  14. A Jehovah's Witness was attacked by her husband who feared she was going to cancel Christmas, a court has heard. Jason Mortimore struck his wife Rachael in the face three times with a magazine before burning her Bible and other religious documents in a garden incinerator. Mortimore, 46, admitted racially aggravated assault and criminal damage at Exeter magistrates court yesterday (TUES). He was fined a total of £666 but the court did not impose a restraining order on him. The court heard that the couple had been married for 12 years and have three children. In November Mortimore saw that his wife, who "has returned to her faith of Jehovah Witness", had thrown away some Christmas brochures and he assumed she was not going to celebrate the festivities. Before she could explain he hit her with a magazine around the face, prosecutor Warjinder Sadeghi said. A few days later they had a row and she woke up to find him burning her Bible and other religious documents in a garden incinerator. Mortimore also dumped other religious leaflets in their recycling bin. He denied the offences in police interview but said their relationship was under strain and he did not want their children to be influenced by her religion. Peter Seigne, defending, said his client had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
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  15. Nicole

    Ladies....

  16. Harry P. Ryan and Kathelene R. (Everly) Ryan recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at a celebration sponsored by family and friends held at Running Deer Golf Club in Pittsgrove. They were married on Feb. 11, 1967 at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Millville. The couple have two sons, Bruce Ryan, married to Candace Comegys Ryan, and Neill Ryan, married to Deanne Pierce Ryan. They also have four grandchildren, Sydney Ryan, Sabrina Ryan, Tre’ Smith and Evan Smith.
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  17. "This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." (Gen. 2:23)
  18. Your marriage status may be a good predictor of whether you survive a stroke. Many studies have shown that married people are generally better off financially than those who are single. They also tend to have more friends and social support, and engage in fewer unhealthy behaviors than the unmarried. But even after controlling for these and other factors, researchers found that being married by itself increases the probability of survival after a stroke. The analysis, in the Journal of the American Heart Association, included a nationally representative sample of 2,351 men and women who had had a stroke and were discharged from the hospital. During the study period, from 1992 to 2010, 1,362 of them later died. The researchers found that compared to the continuously married, the never married had a 34 percent higher risk of death. People who had had multiple divorces were at a 50 percent higher risk, and those widowed multiple times had a 25 percent higher risk. Being divorced or widowed only once, though, did not increase the risk. The lead author, Matthew E. Dupre, a sociologist at Duke University, said that the study confirmed other research showing “how our social relationships can have immediate and lasting consequences for our health.”
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  19. (CNN)Together for 74 years, even death couldn't keep Leonard Cherry and his wife Hazel apart. The Cherrys were high school sweethearts, married in January 1942 in Muldoon, Texas. Last week they died, just a few hours apart. Their only grandson, Craig Cherry, said their love was the strongest love that he had ever seen. "The two were always smiling and always deeply in love," Cherry told CNN affiliate KWTX. Although family members are mourning their loss, the couple's 72-year-old son, David Cherry, is grateful that his mother and father can be together forever. "I feel blessed that Daddy's suffering is over, and I feel blessed that Mom is with him and that she didn't have to live alone." Leonard Cherry, 95, had been in hospice care only days before his death at the St. Catherine Center in Waco, while Hazel Cherry, 93, who was in good health, moved into The Village at Providence Park, a nursing home, just next door. "Mother had been driving around town and still going to the grocery store as recently as two weeks ago, but Dad's health had been failing for some years," David Cherry told the affiliate. Leonard Cherry died at 1 p.m. on Thursday. His wife passed at 11 p.m. It was not immediately clear what caused her death. David Cherry said his parents would be missed. "It's kind of hard you know, you can't pick up the phone and call them anymore, or call mother and can't go by and see Dad," he said. "The more I began to think about it, I began to smile because of how much they loved each other." Leonard Cherry became a B-24 bomber pilot after enlisting in the Army Air Corps at the start of World War II. Stationed at Carswell Army Air Corps Base in Fort Worth, he trained others to fly the plane. Once the war was over, Leonard stayed in Fort Worth and went to work as an auto body repair man. He later owned his own auto repair business that he and his wife operated until 1980, but the couple of almost 40 years wanted to be closer to their grandchild and son. Leonard sold his auto repair business and the couple moved to Woodway to spend the rest of their lives together. A memorial service is scheduled for the two Friday.
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  20. You hear it again and again: "After I got married, I stopped having time for myself." Cooperation is a healthy part of a relationship. The trick is to grow together, and as the old saying goes, to "row in the same direction." Growing in a long-term relationship or marriage takes skill. Marriages that stagnate become ripe for problems. So how do you grow in your marriage? Just like the flowers and trees, all relationships need water and sunlight, a little tending to pull up the weeds and a little talk to encourage them. 1. Be present. Being present can mean staying off your smartphone during mealtimes or whenever you're together. It requires truly listening to what your partner is saying. It means actually focusing on the person in the room rather than thinking about the four other places you could be. When you are present with your spouse, they're made to feel important, validated, and treasured. Again, this pays dividends. 2. Give them the benefit of the doubt. If your spouse takes an interest in something that doesn't immediately include you, don't react with suspicion or anger. If they suggest that going off and doing it will make them a better spouse, they might be right. So long as their new interest doesn't risk anyone's physical or emotional well-being, it would be wise to believe in them rather than ripping their idea to shreds. Giving them the benefit of the doubt. Support pays huge dividends. 3. Praise. Don't punish. We're all going to fail sometimes. And who's the first person we talk to when we're disappointed or scared? If your other half has experienced a setback or disappointment, it's not productive to berate or find fault. Find something—anything—positive that you can say about their effort. Now, I'm not suggesting that you lie. Be authentic. A little praise at the right time goes a long way. 4. Be affectionate. Our spouses need gentle words, that same touch. How much? Well, that's up to you. Sometimes one member of a relationship puts a heavier emphasis on affection than the other. Sometimes, we're just feeling a little needy. A simple hand on the shoulder, rub of the arm, a kiss on the cheek, or quick shoulder rub shows that you care. 5. Communicate. Marriage can become routine. Partners assume the other can read their mind. As a professional psychotherapist, I always tell my clients not to assume. Being able to regularly share thoughts, ideas, and feelings is critical. We lead busy lives, so a frequent excuse for not communicating even the basic events of our day is "I just don't have time." Well, everyone is busy. Your spouse is busy. But if you want them to stay your spouse, open your mouth and tell them what's going on. Ask how their day was. The few minutes it takes to "check in" and ask how your spouse is doing says "I value you and what you're doing. You're not alone." This sharing of ideas and experiences is crucial. 6. Find an activity. The happiest couples share common activities. Identify what you both derive pleasure from. Maybe you haven't done it lately. Brainstorm up a little excursion. Plan a getaway. Maintaining routine is important, but taking time out to enjoy being with each other in an activity that isn't doing errands is a way to spread growth. All of these ideas can help lead to positive growth in your relationship. Every good relationship is planted in fertile ground; when things become too routine, it's as if that dirt has been stripped of all the important minerals and nutrients. Whatever gets planted in there won't be as strong as it can be. But when we revitalize that soil and replenish the nutrients, what comes back will be twice as strong as before. By Dr. Janna Fond/MBG
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