Monday, February 21, 2005

"Endless Love" -- A Dozen Tried and True Tips for Keeping the Flame Alive

"Endless Love" -- A Dozen Tried and True Tips for Keeping the Flame Alive
by Chelsea Badeau, Editor

What little girl doesn't dream of finding her prince charming and living happily ever after? We all want to find that "endless love," the soulmate that we can not only spend the rest of our lives with, but spend it with joy and romance. It's easy to be discouraged –– a look at news reports and Harris polls proclaiming that half of all marriages end in divorce these days is enough to bring anyone down –– and to give up hope that any relationship can stand the test of time. Even if true, these statistics only tell half the story –– the other 50% of marriages do last forever, but rarely make the news.

So what is the recipe, the magic formula for keeping love — and romance — alive in a long–term relationship? Naturally, I started looking for answers by checking in with my mom. After all, she and my dad have been together for over 30 years now. In addition to sharing her own secrets for success, she polled a group of her married friends that have been together a decade or more. Here are their combined "Top 12 Tips for Keeping Love Alive:"

12. Love his mother, Honor her father — Some men are always "mama's boys," and some women remain "daddy's little girls." One of my mother's friends wrote, "When I see how kind he is to my mom, my heart just swells with love for him." Accepting and respecting the in–laws reduces stress and demonstrates that you accept and respect your partner.

11. Spend time with the kids — When asked what they appreciated most about their husbands, all of the moms answered, "he is such a great dad." Watching your partner teaching or playing with children has an endearing charm that goes straight to the heart. Enjoying quality family time is the foundation for happy memories that sustain a relationship through the trials and challenges that will inevitably come along.

10. Take care of yourself — At the beginning of a relationship, you take the time to fix your hair and freshen your breath to spiff up for a date. But as time goes on, it is easy to get a little too comfortable and let yourself go. Both men and women appreciate a partner who puts a little energy into staying healthy and attractive — get off the couch and eat well, exercise (together?), and update your hair and wardrobe.

9. Maintain outside interests — You fell in love with him because he was interesting. He fell in love with you because you were fascinating. Nothing kills a relationship faster than boredom. Keep up your outside interests — your career, hobbies, and friends. Read, learn, and continue to grow as a person. Continue to be that woman of mystery, that man of intrigue who created such excitement in the early days of your relationship. Don't expect your partner to meet all your emotional needs. Women — keep your girlfriends. Men — make time for your buddies. Respect each other's need for time alone, show genuine interest in each other's jobs, friends, and activities — but don't crowd and smother one another.

8. Learn to argue well — Conflict is inevitable. You will argue and even fight. Learn to do it constructively and well. Be able to disagree without being disagreeable. Holding everything inside only creates festering emotional wounds, or eventually explosive rage. Nagging, whining, or complaining about your partner to others undermines your relationship and feeds unhealthy negativity. Learning how to listen, to give and accept criticism, to vent angry feelings, to say "I'm sorry," to forgive, and to not always have to be right can make the difference between a short and long–term relationship. Break plates if you need to — but don't let unexpressed or poorly expressed anger break up your relationship.

7. Accentuate the positive — Be free and frequent with compliments and appreciation. Don't assume he knows you appreciate him. Don't assume she knows you think she's still beautiful — say it out loud. The women polled said that giving and receiving daily compliments, including upbeat emails, little notes on the dash of the car, or "thank you for remembering to wash my favorite shirt" voicemails fan the flames of love all day long. And complimenting your partner in front of others will earn you bonus points.

6. Don't neglect physical affection —Remember, it's not all about S–E–X!!! Hugs, kisses, hand–holding, foot massages, backrubs, cuddles, even tickling are essential to feeling loved and staying connected. Regular and frequent affectionate touching leads to more satisfying, frequent, and sizzling lovemaking. Spice things up in the bedroom — and beyond.

5. Set Aside Special Couple Time — Many satisfied longtime partners swear by a weekly date. Others point to an hour of downtime –– alone –– in the evening. Others suggest that an annual vacation — sans kids — is the ticket to success. However you manage it, just do it. Spend time alone together — a relationship will quickly grow cold if the busy–ness and business of everyday life is allowed to encroach on all of your "couple time." And don't expect quality couple time to "just happen." Plan it and then don't let anything get in the way.

4. It's the little things — While vacations, hot dates, and romantic gestures will go a long way towards keeping love alive, it is really the little, daily expressions of caring that keep the warmth and joy in long–term relationships. Fixing her coffee in the morning the way she likes it, picking up your socks without being reminded, taking over one of his usual chores when he is tired, asking about her day and showing genuine interest in the answer –– these little moments add up to big dividends in a long–term relationship.

3. Build trust — Trust is hard. It takes time to build and is easy to break. Value your partner's trust and don't do anything to compromise it. Demonstrate your trust in him — don't let jealousy get a foothold in your relationship. In a trusting relationship, you are free to feel and express a full range of emotions. You feel safe even when you are most vulnerable.

2. Surprise! — Don't stop surprising him, do the unexpected. So you're not the world's best cook? Plan a romantic dinner — even if your culinary skills are lacking, your efforts will be appreciated and might prove to be humorous — laughter is one of the key ingredients in any healthy relationship. Keep your partner slightly off–balance by doing new, fun, and silly things routinely.

And the number one most important tip for keeping love alive is:

1. Dream together — A relationship can survive devastating financial losses, unfathomable grief, traumas, challenges, illness, periods of unexpected separation, and more –– as long as it is built on a foundation of shared faith, common values, goals, dreams, hopes, and a vision for a future together. "To love is not to look at one another, but to look together in the same direction." –– Antoine de Saint–Exupery

Chelsea Badeau can be reached at

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

Waist Circumference Predicts Heart Disease Risk

Waist Circumference Predicts Heart Disease Risk

Mon Feb 21, 7:46 AM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The circumference of your waist correlates more closely with several known risk factors for heart disease than does your body mass index (BMI) -- the measure of weight in relation to height -- according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (news - web sites).

The findings are based on an analysis of data from 10,969 subjects who participated in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1998 to 1994.

Dr. Shankuan Zhu, from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and colleagues found that waist circumference was more strongly tied to cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels than was BMI.

Among men, the circumferences that were equivalent in terms of cardiovascular risk to being overweight or obese were highest for whites, lowest for blacks, and intermediate for Mexican Americans. By contrast, the waist measurement cutoffs among women varied little by ethnicity.

Combining the data from the three ethnic groups, waist measurements of 89 and 101 centimeters (35 and 40 inches) in men conferred a cardiovascular risk comparable to BMIs of 25 (overweight) and 30 (obese).

The waistlines with the corresponding risks for women were 83 and 94 cm (about 33 and 37 ins).

"The present study reports waist circumference cutoffs that correspond to well-established BMI cutoffs, recommended by the World Health Organization (news - web sites) and the National Institutes of Health (news - web sites) for overweight and obesity, in their association with cardiovascular disease risk factors," the researchers conclude.

"Our findings indicate that waist circumference is a better indicator of cardiovascular disease risk than is BMI across three race-ethnicity groups."

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2005.

Corzine cribbing from GOP’s playbook

Bill's Comment: The current senior United States Senator from New Jersey, Jon Corzine, is BANKRUPT on idea initiation, as he makes his bid for the Office Of The Governor. Then again, so are most of the members of the Democratic Party.

Corzine cribbing from GOP’s playbook

Column by Charles Webster

U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine wants to be the governor and he is willing to steal from the Republicans to give himself a leg up on the competition.

Corzine says he wants to clean up New Jersey politics and he insists he is the only man that can deliver.

To prove his point he is calling for the creation of a state comptroller to aid in "promoting efficiency, reducing waste, and detecting and preventing misconduct."

Corzine wants a comptroller who will "conduct regular audits and performance reviews of all state departments and agencies, independent authorities, county and municipal governments, and school boards. The comptroller will also have oversight over all state contracts exceeding $1 million to ask tough questions before money is spent."

On top of the comptroller idea, Corzine apparently has had an epiphany -- he wants a pay-to-play ban.

Wow! After reading that it is difficult to understand how Corzine plans to put a stop to all the thievery going on under the gold dome of the State House, and it’s even harder to find evidence that Corzine is the guy to do it.

Ol’ Jonnie is shopping a plan to put a stop to influence peddling, contract swaps for campaign donations and other assorted schemes better known as pay-to-play.

That’s what voters in the Garden State want, but they have been looking for it to happen for a long while now.

The big news is that Corzine’s ideas are nothing new. In fact, Corzine’s ideas are ripped right out of the Republicans’ playbook.

You got it! Corzine stole GOP ideas and is now shopping them around as his own.

Call it stealing, call it plagiarism, call knowing a good idea when he sees one, but don’t forget to call it exactly what it is -- and that’s downright dishonest.

Republican lawmakers Rick Merkt and Michael Patrick Carroll already have a bill introduced to create a new elected office of state comptroller. If Corzine is sincere about wanting to see that post created he needs to get Assembly Speaker Albio Sires and Assembly Majority Leader Joe Roberts off their collective duffs and tell them to post the bill for a vote.

By the way, Jon, If you can’t find the bill on that long list of "ideas," reference it as ACR 55.

And as for that pay-to-play ban you say you want to see in place, well, same thing applies here. There are already bills introduced in the Legislature to get the dirty deed banned, but they’re collecting dust over in the Democrats’ Twilight Zone.

Bill Baroni, Kevin O’Toole and Tom Kean, Jr. all have bills pending that will stop pay-to-play dead in its tracks. But good old boys Sires and Roberts keep moving the bills to the bottom of the pile.

You want to be the Democrats’ leader in New Jersey? Well, get those guys in line first, everything else will fall into place.

So Jon, it’s nice to see you’re finally playing the ethics reform card.

But I’m sorry to inform you that you’re a little late in the game. Eight million dollars in donations from you and Mommy over the last five years does buy you a bye. If you want to be governor, you’ll have to come up with a sharper game plan.

In the meantime, the Republicans are waiting to see their bills passed. All you have to do is make the call.

-- Charles Webster is the State House reporter and political columnist for The Trentonian. He can be reached at

©The Trentonian 2005

10 Signs You Need a Romantic Reality Check

10 Signs You Need a Romantic Reality Check

(Courtesy of

Oh, the love lives we imagine for ourselves! Strolls on the beach at sunset (or sunrise, or under a moonlit sky). Champagne and candlelight. Adoring gazes exchanged for hours before a crackling fire. Moments of passion on secluded tropical beaches. Beds strewn with red rose petals.

If our profiles are any indication, once we hook up with our soul mates we'll live charmed romantic lives. Or should we call them fantasy lives?

Poor reality. It has so much more substance, and yet we never quite forgive its lack of style. Real love is what you've got if it's built to last for years and stay with you even when your toned muscles go soft, your joints go pop at the slightest provocation, and your hair goes gray (or just goes).

To improve your chances of finding real (not fantasy) love online, test your expectations against this reality check:

1. How heavily does your description of your perfect relationship rely on quotes from your favorite poem, song, or movie?

2. You know that "perfect relationship" is an oxymoron, right?

3. All kidding aside, you do know that (John Cusack, Halle Berry, whomever) and you aren't really going to meet someday and just "click" instantly ... don't you?

4. When your best friend waits anxiously for a new love interest to call, do you find yourself a little jealous and missing the "excitement" of a relationship in its early, uncertain stage? If you suddenly couldn't count on your honey to call, would that really excite you?

5. How well does your wish for a soul mate whose face can light up an entire room stack up against the way your face looks when you stumble into the bathroom in the morning?

6. It's important to you to date someone who really loves kids ... do you date teachers, or don't they make enough money?

7. You're 45, and you're seeking a woman between 25 and 40. So let me get this straight: You'd turn down Susan Sarandon, Isabella Rossellini and Elizabeth Pe?a?

8. You're 5'4", and you won't date guys who are shorter than 6'. So let me get this straight: You'd turn down Marc Anthony, Denzel Washington and Matt Damon?

9. Do you have a really clear idea, down to the minute details, of what life with your true love will be? Do you also have the flexibility to accept that your (soul mate) may have just as clearly imagined something different for the two of you?

10. Ask yourself: Does your true love really have to be equally comfortable in jeans and evening wear? Or will uncomfortable but not unwilling do the trick?

Reality check: There might not be just one person for you, so wake up and start a quick search for many people who may fit your criteria!

5 ways to tell if she's the one

5 ways to tell if she's the one

Tom Milnes,

So, you've been dating a perfectly lovely woman for a while and seeing as you are more or less attached at the hip, it is safe to say that things may be getting serious. But with all those other fish in the sea, how do you know if she is really the one for you?
With all new relationships holding the possibility of everything from mere infatuation to lasting love, it can sometimes be hard to tell the real thing from your latest fling, unless you are willing to ask the tough questions. Thankfully, that list is mercifully short.

1. Is there honest communication between you?
Understandably, in the heat of the moment a question as serious as this is usually not a top priority but if you are playing for the long-term you had better make time for it sooner rather than later. As intoxicating as a new romance can be, eventually pet peeves and irritations, will punch a hole into your private world. And if you are not prepared to deal with it the honeymoon may be over before it begins.

2. Where is the passion?
Although not all love connections run as hot as others, passion — either anticipated or actual — is an eventual necessity for any healthy, happy relationship. When you take her hand and look into her eyes what do you see and what do you feel? Whether you have chosen to jump right in or take it slow, ensure that as your life together grows the passion does not get left out, otherwise what is the point.

3. Are you compatible for the long haul?
The beginnings of relationships tend to be filled with typical days of wine and roses but what happens when the unchangeable realities surrounding your mate make themselves known. It could be her friends. It could be her family. It could be her interests or job. Identifying them early can provide the head start you need to reconcile yourself to them or provide the final reason to move on to greener pastures.

4. Do you both have lives outside your relationship?
As relationships progress, both women and men tend to identify themselves just as much as half of a couple as distinct individuals. Is she strong enough to avoid the insecurities that can be the result of the ensuing battle between losing herself in your relationship and retaining an individual identity? And what about you? If she needs you will you be there to hold her hand and to have yours held in turn when you take up the same struggle? If you answered no to either of these you may have a problem.

5. Is money an issue?
Nothing loosens a man's purse strings like a new romance but as much as you might like treating your new gal at every turn, if you make it your responsibility it may come back to haunt you. Disagreements over money are a prime source of arguments among couples, so do yourself a favor from the beginning and let her pick up the check if she wants to. If she doesn't offer, ask her to pitch in. The result may be an eye-opening snapshot of what your financial future with her may hold.