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5 Secrets Spouses Keep That Hurt Their Marriage

April 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
Problems below the surface eventually show themselves, many times in ugly or explosive ways. One of those problems is when you are married with secrets that you are keeping from your spouse. If love, trust, and intimacy are the oxygen that fuels your marriage, having secrets is like putting faulty wires in the tank. The results can be catastrophic. On the surface, it may seem like your marriage is smooth sailing, but one minute later, it’s in a fight for its life when those secrets blow up. Here are 5 secrets spouses keep that hurt their marriage.

  1. Unhappiness in the Marriage

Many people wander into a place where they are discontent with their marriage. The reasons for keeping it a secret could be fear of hurting feelings, thinking the problems will eventually sort themselves out, or maybe they just don’t want to admit that they have become unhappy. Sometimes it’s no one’s fault in particular. Sometimes bad habits have developed by both that just need work. In the end, though, the problem(s) is (are) not going to go away by themselves. They have to be brought into the open and dealt with. Otherwise, you and your spouse will continue to separate.

  1. Fulfilling Intimacy Desires from Someone or Something Other Than a Spouse

It’s easy to see how an affair is hurtful to a marriage. But it’s the subtle things that are easily missed or justified long before an affair starts that lay the groundwork for disconnection. Sex is designed to build intimacy between a husband and wife. Sexual satisfaction and fulfillment are reserved for a spouse. When sex is lacking, it needs to be addressed, talked about, and resolved. Counseling should be sought. When a spouse secretly seeks to satisfy him/herself sexually through masturbation, pornography, or an affair, it destroys intimacy. The soul bonds with those other things rather than the spouse. With every sexual engagement apart from the spouse, the desire for that spouse gets duller until the fire finally goes out.

  1. Financial Decisions

No matter who is the primary breadwinner, in marriage, the money belongs to both of you, unless you have come to some sort of divided monetary agreement. Disagreements need to be talked about and worked out, not hidden. When one party makes financial decisions in secret that violate the couple’s agreement, it is a form of financial infidelity. One of the most important ingredients for a thriving marriage is trust. Keeping spending secrets is a major violation of trust and a fast track to disaster.

  1. Disagreement

Quietly disagreeing with a decision a spouse makes undermines the relationship in two ways. First, it’s a silent lie. Dishonesty equals disunity. Second, feelings of disagreement have to settle somewhere, and when they are unresolved, they usually turn into resentment. Third, a married couple should always think of themselves as having one brain. Working through disagreement causes us to make more informed decisions, even when it is frustrating. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsberg couldn’t have been more opposite as recently deceased Justice Antonin Scalia. However, in a moving tribute to Scalia, she said that when they disagreed her final opinion was always better because he was able to clearly state all of the weak points in his dissent. Silent dissent makes the relationship and the spouse weaker.

  1. Past Relationships

Our past relationships significantly impact our current ones. We bring all of the wounds, baggage, and dysfunction they have caused into the marriage. Hiding it only leaves a spouse confused and separated. It is like a wall between one another. Do you have to share with one another all of the things you did physically in previous relationships? No. But it is important for them to know the level of intimacy and how you were affected by it. It’s good for them to know what went right and what went wrong. It helps them to know you better and how your past relational experience has formed you.

10 Sharable Images for Spring

April 1st, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
The power of social media – it is a wonderful tool to share encouraging words and uplift others. With Spring finally here, it’s a perfect time to talk about renewal in our lives. That is why we have created 10 sharable spring images focused on renewal to uplift you and your community! Share them on your social platforms, or print and post around your home for your own personal encouragement in your family.

Make A Vision Board for 2018

February 6th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
Adapted from urbanmommies.com
(original article by Jill Amery)


If you’re already losing focus on your goals, try making a vision board! Making vision boards is a great exercise for the New Year to set intentions for you and your family!

Using words and images, they visually show you your goals and dreams. Your mind responds strongly to visual stimulation, so not only does the process cement your goals in your mind, but seeing your board in a prominent place triggers this visual cue.

The process of making a vision board is very simple, and from what I found – letting yourself be free and un-constricted will help a vision emerge. It can also totally help you get ‘unstuck’ if you are in a rut. I noticed that my board was indicating my desire for colour, relaxation and simplicity. Your brain works to try and achieve the statements you give to your subconscious. You are giving attention to things you desire and will naturally experience more of these things.

Tip 1: A vision board isn’t just about the things you WANT, but how you want to FEEL. It needn’t just be magazine clippings and words – depending on your style and design sensibilities it can fit perfectly into your decor.

Tip 2: One great tip is to make it your screensaver on your phone, ipad and laptop as well. As you achieve your goals and dreams, make sure to feel gratitude, and you will experience more good things.

Tip 3: This is a great activity to do with kids! When the kids did theirs, I noticed several trends that the boys had never expressed verbally.

What you Need to Construct a Vision Board:

  • Poster Board or bulletin board
  • Magazines
  • Glue/tape
  • Push pins
  • Scissors
  • Frame (optional)

Jill Amery
Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

10 Ways You Can Make Your Hot Chocolate Even Better

November 2nd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

It’s that time of year again. The days get shorter, darker and a lot colder which is why many start drinking more hot drinks to keep warm. There is nothing better than a cup of hot chocolate but sometimes you want something a little more exciting. Whether you are a lover of peanut butter, peppermint, cinnamon or Nutella, Here are 10 ways you can spice up your hot chocolate.

Infographic via SheKnows

19 Outdoorsy Things You Can Do Before the Snow Takes Over

October 2nd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
Since summer’s still sticking around you may as well start checking off everything in the list of things to do before it snows. We all know once the snow hits the ground in Ottawa, it basically becomes hibernation season for most of us. 

From time to time in the winter we decide to brave the cold and do something, but once we head inside we automatically remember why we don’t leave the house. Right now the weather isn’t that bad, you can go outside for a whole day and come back in without any issues like wet socks or frozen fingers. It’s time to take advantage of this abnormal autumn weather, here are 19 outdoorsy things you can do before the snow takes over!

Hikes:

Lusk Caves Trail // Gatineau Park
Distance: 12 km

 

Hemlock Bluff Trail // Algonquin Provincial Park
Distance: 3.5km (loop)

 

King Mountain Trail // Gatineau Park
Distance: 1.9km

 

Mount Marcy // New York
Distance: 24km

 

Wilson Carbide Ruins // Gatineau Park
Distance: 3km

 

Centennial Ridges Trail // Algonquin Provincial Park
Distance: 10.4km (loop)

 

Luskville Falls Trail // Gatineau Park 
Distance: 4.5km

 

Booth’s Rock Trail // Algonquin Provincial Park 
Distance: 5.1km (loop)

 

Pink Lake Trail // Gatineau Park 
Distance: 2.5km

 

Lauriault Trail // Gatineau Park
Distance: 3km 

 

Activities:

Go pet some of your favourite animals at Parc Omega 

 

Rent a canoe or kayak on Dow’s Lake or the Rideau Canal

 

Try something different and go horseback riding at Captiva Farms 

 

Head to Arbraska Laflèche

 

Walking Paths:

Mer Bleue Bog // Ridge Road

 

Pine Grove Trail // Ottawa, ON

 

Stony Swamp // 4897 Old Richmond Road

 

Chapman Mills Conservation Area // 254 Winding Way

 

Sarsaparilla Trail // Ottawa, ON

 

Source: Narcity

In theatres October 20

October 2nd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

10 Ideas for Non-Digital Family Fun on Road Trips

July 31st, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
Whether your family is taking a short trip to Grandma’s house or a cross-country vacation in the family car, these interactive activities will help the time pass more quickly.

With seven children, you can imagine the travel tensions my wife, Ellie, and I have experienced during long road trips: bad attitudes, wars over seat space, and the incessant asking of the timeless question, “How much longer until we get there?”

Whether your family is taking a short trip to Grandma’s house or a cross-country vacation in the family car, having things to do always helps the trip pass more quickly and makes things much more enjoyable along the way.

Sure, it’s easier to turn on a DVD or let the kids use their hand-held devices. But since you already have everyone in one place, why not buck the solo trend and give everyone a chance to connect and enjoy the trip and each other—as a family?

Through three decades of parenting, Ellie and I have adapted some travel ideas from other creative parents, and we developed others out of our own desperation. The following are some of our favorite non-digital activities and games to play on a road trip, short or long. We’ve even included some links to make it easier for you.

1. Mile marker. On all interstate freeways and many major U.S. highways, there are small green signs along the shoulder of the road to mark each highway mile. The object of the game is to call out a “mile marker” before anyone else. Each mile marker earns a point. If a family member incorrectly calls a mile marker (it turns out to be another kind of sign, etc.), a point is taken away. If two people call a mile marker at the same time, no point is awarded. The first person to get 10 mile markers (or 20 or however many you want, depending on how long you want the game to last), wins the game.

2. Alphabet signs. Find all the letters of the alphabet, in order, on billboards, highway signs, license plates, etc. (The only letters off limits are those inside your own vehicle). As a person finds a letter, they call out the letter and the word that contains it. Everyone competes individually, and everyone can call out letters and words at the same time. The first person to finish is the winner.

3. Bible characters. In this variation of the classic game, “20 Questions,” one person secretly selects a Bible character and announces the first letter of that person’s name. All other family members take turns asking yes/no questions to try to narrow down the subject (“Is it a woman?” or “Did he live in the time of Christ?”). Whenever a family member gets a “Yes” answer to his question, he may continue asking until receiving a “No.”

To win the game, a person would ask “Is it _____?”. If the answer is “Yes,” the round is over and the person who guessed correctly gets to choose the next character. If the answer is “No,” the person is eliminated from that round, and the other family members play until someone correctly guesses the Bible character. One more twist: If the person who selected the Bible character can’t answer one of the questions about the character, the family member who stumped him wins. You can also play this game with animals, sports teams, etc.

4. Camping trip. One person, called the tour guide, announces, “I’m going on a camping trip, and I’m bringing a …” To decide what he is bringing, the tour guide thinks of a rule. For example, the rule could be “Only words that start with an ‘F’ are allowed,” so the tour guide could say, “I’m going on a camping trip, and I’m bringing a flashlight.”

The goal is to guess other words and, in the process, figure out the rule. One person might say, “Can I bring a battery?” The tour guide would say “You can’t come,” because he knows that it doesn’t start with an “F.” That person stays in the game, but his turn is over. If the next person says, “Can I bring fun?” the tour guide would respond, “You can come.” The round can end in one of two ways: 1) Those who figure out the rule can keep suggesting items for the camping trip until the other participants catch on; or 2) Someone uses his turn to ask, “Is the rule, ‘Things that begin with “F”‘?” If a person tries to guess the rule and the guess is incorrect, he sits out for the rest of that round.

Other rules that could apply to flashlight might be: words with two syllables, things you’d find in a backpack, words with three consecutive consonants, things that produce light, etc. You can make the game as simple or sophisticated as you want to cater to the abilities of your family members. This game is great for spawning creativity on the part of the tour guide, and building analytical skills for all the other family members.

5. License plate. Each player has a blank map of the United States. When a family member spots a vehicle with the license plate from a particular state, he marks it on his map. One rule: You have to be able to read the name of the state, not just identify the plate by its colors or graphics.

6. The box game. Using a piece of graph paper or a page with 10 rows of 10 evenly-spaced dots, players take turns drawing one vertical or horizontal line from one dot to another. When a person draws a line that completes a box, he puts his initial inside the box. When the grid is fully filled in, the initials are counted, and the person who has the most initials is the winner.

7. Scavenger hunt. Before the trip, develop a list of items that you are likely to see on the trip. When the trip starts, hand a copy of the list to each family member (non-readers can help readers find the items). Our family has broken our items into categories (animals, people, vehicles, structures, landscapes, etc.). The first person to complete a category gets a special treat (for example, any item under $1 at the next gas station stop). Once a person completes a category, he is not eligible for other category awards (this gives everyone a chance to earn a reward), but is still in the running for the big reward, which is given to the first person who completes the whole list.

8. Reading and listening. Plan a visit to the library before your trip. Allow each child to pick out a few books and make sure they have a personal book bag to keep up with their own stuff (you can also add some coloring books, activity books, pencils, etc.). While you’re at the library, pick up some family classics on audio. We actually listened to a dramatized Cheaper by the Dozen during four days of driving. 

9. Progressive scrapbook. Buy a journal or album for each child, along with some tape or a glue stick and car-safe scissors. Wherever you stop, pick up some brochures or postcards. Have the children select pictures or other memorabilia to put in their personal scrapbook, and have them write what they liked about that part of the trip, what they did, etc. Encourage them to write down as many details as they can. They can add family photos to the book once you get home.

10. How much longer? Using Google Maps or another mapping website, print a map of your trip and give it to each family member. When someone inevitably asks, “How much longer…?” have the questioner pull out his or her personal map and point to where you are on the map. Every once in a while, you might announce, “We’re in ______” or, “We just passed Highway ____. Can you find it on your map?”. This exercise gives the children something to do, answers their questions, and teaches them map skills. And you never again have to say in exasperation, “If you ask again, you’ll have a quiet time out for the next half hour!”