EuGene Jordan

EuGene Jordan

Have you have you ever been sat for hours on end in front of your computer trying to focus on something for an important deadline? You've been at it for so long, however, things are becoming so blurry that you just can't see the tree for the woods? You've lost focus! You take a moment to step away from the computer, grabbed yourself a beverage and now you've returned back to the computer all of a sudden you see clearly. The glaringly obvious is steering you in the face. This is often how we become within our relationships. We can be face to face with our partner for so long that her beauty (mind body and soul) become a blur. That feeling of disconnect begins to kick in and you start taking what you have in front of you for granted or even worse, you slowly start to fall out of love without even realising it.


Falling in love is relatively easy, however, staying in love can often take a fair bit of work. The reality is that too many people give up on their relationships because they believe they've fallen out of love when in fact, sometimes it's a case of us falling out of focus, not love. Life can get disjointed at times and we can lose sight of what's right in front of us so in this article I wanted to share some of my thoughts on how to rekindle a dwindling flame by getting things back in focus.

 


Reassess

They say the first steps to recovering from anything is reassessing your situation and holding your hands up to admit that there is a problem. Be bold and accept that things may have gone off track. You may have taken your eye off the ball and you may have to work at falling back in love again but at least now it's on the table. Sit down together and just talk it out. No judgment, no arguments just an open conversation. There is a great power in having a conversation, not for the sake of getting our point across but to discover the unknown. Having a conversation can hash out a lot of our problems, especially if the root cause is miscommunication. Reassess the facts but be considerate the feelings too! Be open to listening rather than sitting on the side of the defence, waiting to point the finger. Sometimes we need a bit of time to ourselves to reassess and for some, that's ok too. Some would argue that there's a healthy benefit from having a bit of space to think for a moment to get some clarity about what it is you want for your marriage, however, we can only truly gain perspective when we aim to see through the lens of our partner.

 

 

Refocus

The heart of this process should be, focusing on what really matters and that’s the future of your relationship. Set some parameters that you are both accountable to and for. Again... don’t point fingers. Learn to focus on working together against the problems that have caused you to fall out of focus. When someone's back is badly misaligned they will often need to make several visits to their chiropractor in order to have it realigned. When we spend our time intentionally together we re-aligning ourselves with one another and become refocused and more in tune with each other. I never feel more focused than when my wife and I spend time in the mornings either reading, meditating or even praying together. Whatever your thing is, mutually decide what time of day works best and spend quality time each day working together toward the goal of having a more intentional focused time on your relationship.


Rekindle

Remember what sparked that flame. Ask yourself these questions: "What made us click?" And "What qualities led me to fall in love with this person in the first place?" It's good to reminisce on those moments that set the flame ablaze at first but it's also about establishing what keeps that flame lit now. It's often the case that as we grow older the things that ignite our passion are no longer the same and the marker has moved. Knowing this truth is the foundation of sparking a new flame that is grounded in the reality of your present situation and not on old memories. I think love is something that you have to work on to keep the flame lit, and with practice, it develops over time and experience. Love is a practice.

 

Re-engage

Find new shared interests. The everyday mundane routine can make any living being become disengaged, uninterested and out of focus in any area of life. If we allow it to, life can play itself out whilst we participate on auto pilot and marriage can become a place of limitations rather than exploration. Remember the Disney classic "Aladdin?" (Stay with me on this one. I'm going somewhere) Well, whilst Aladdin was on the magic carpet showing Jasmine a whole new world (not a euphemism) it was at that moment where the two characters really engaged with one another. Two people from two completely different backgrounds were having a moment of transparency where the other could get an insight into a world they had never seen before. Sometimes we fall into the trap of believing that we can only engage in a topic, activity or thought that we already know, understand and subscribe to, however, the opposite is often true too. We can re-engage with our spouse not by thinking alike but by trying to think together.

Reconnect

Sometimes when we fall out of focus, physical intimacy takes a hit too and this is often a hard one to overcome in the absence of intellectual intimacy. It starts in the mind so take the step to connect on an intellectual level. Once you've engaged the mind... get back on the horse* and put sex back on the table again. Figuratively speaking... unless that’s your thing. Contrary to popular belief, sex can actually stimulate and increase mental intimacy, however, we often believe it to be the other way around. Frequent sex helps to release endorphins in our brain and can increase libido and our overall attraction to each other. (You're welcome!!!) When people feel like they're falling out of love, sex is often put on the back burner, but, sex can actually help build and strengthen an intimate bond in a relationship. It makes both men and women feel appreciated, sexy, physically attractive and self-confident. It makes us feel really good about ourselves and that has a massive knock on effect for our spouse. Sex doesn't just help bring us closer together physically but mentally too. An interesting fact to know that was found in recent studies is that sex relieves stress, helps lower blood pressure and burns 170 calories or more for every hour in the sack. So for God's sake get busy with your spouse. The health of your relationship isn't the only thing at risk!

*Disclaimer – for those unfamiliar with the term, I'm in no way shape or form referring to your partner as a horse. It's merely an expression. Lol.

 


Conclusion

1 out of 2 couples end their relationships in divorce. There are many different reasons as to why, however, it’s often as a result of falling out of love with their partner. (research and get evidence supporting why people divorce) I wonder how much of a different outcome we’d get if we took the moment to regularly refocus and recalibrate when we feel like the love has gone. I’m told a happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers. So forgive any previous shortcomings and re-commit to focusing back on growing your love for one another.

By the time we've grown from children into fully fledged men, it would've been ingrained into our minds not to be "too emotional". We go through life putting our poker face but once that feeling of rage comes across us, we have a licence to go from 0-No Chill in less than a second. We've gotten pretty good at unleashing this emotion. Anger. 

We all go through a wide range of emotions and at some point anger WILL be one of them! Whatever the trigger, we all know what anger is. We've felt it's destructive presence. Whether as a fleeting annoyance or as full-fledged rage, anger can lead us to disconnect from our better nature and do the irreversible.  

Anger is a completely normal and healthy human emotion, however, when it gets out of control it can become a destructive force that will cause problems in every area of your life if left unchecked. Problems at school, work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. The feeling of anger can sometimes make you feel as though you're at the mercy of an unpredictable and extremely powerful emotion, but, how can we recognise and manage this emotion when it rears its head more regularly than we would like? 1 in 4 suffer from mismanaged anger and not only is this bad for our health but it can lead to Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), depression or even domestic violence so here's a few tips to make sure you're always in control of this dangerous emotion that often tries to control us.  

 

  

Breathe Slowly  

Remember Will Smith in bad boys 2? Well, there's method to his "woosah" madness. It turns out that breathing out for longer than you breathe in can help bring a sense of calm to the mind and relax us with each breath. At the end of the day you can't control your environment, however, you can control your breathing. By focusing on something you can control, like your breathing you allow yourself to get back in the driver's seat and can significantly manage an emotional response. Research has found that practising breathing control can have a positive impact on our stress response. A simple technique is to count to five while inhaling, hold for five seconds, and then breathe out for five seconds. Focus on your each part of your breath. It's quite similar to counting slowly up to 10. This will calm you down effectively and help you think more clearly.   

 

  

Recognise Your Anger Signs  

Everyone has a physical reaction to anger. Be aware of what your body is telling you, and learn to recognise your anger signs. For most of us, our heart will start to beat faster and our breathing pattern becomes quicker, preparing us for action. You might also notice other signs, such as tension in your shoulders or clenching your fists. If you notice these signs, get out of the situation if you’ve got a history of losing control until you have learned to manage this. It's important to face the things that anger you at some point otherwise it will always have the better of you. That anger avoidance rather than management.   

 

  

Keep a Journal   

I haven't tried this one myself however as I write often about my life experiences perhaps I do tick this box in a round about way. I've been told that many people find journaling a really helpful way to clarify and process their emotions. I've found that when I write about anything it gives me a chance to put my feelings in perspective and analyse the whole situation. It's often the case for most men to bottle up their anger as a result of simply feeling unable to express it however, this can be potentially even more dangerous as that lid will blow at some point and most likely for the most insignificant thing. Writing down what has happened, what you feel, the duration and even the severity of the emotion can help put your anger in context. This may afford us a moment of rational thinking and reflection that better prepares us if a trigger situation arises again.  

 

 

Pray And Meditate  

It's widely documented that meditation and prayer can improve positive emotions, health, and happiness. Also, it decreases anxiety, stress, and depression. There are many different types of meditation, some sit in silence whilst other may reflect on a verse from the Bible, but the goal of all meditation is to let those negative thoughts go and bring your concentration back to a focus point. This can calm your thoughts and renew the way you think when presented with a situation that triggers anger in your life.  

 

  

Talk About I 

Honestly this one is a big one because we don't do this enough in general. Get it off your chest and talk about what made you angry. Being alone with sad or painful emotions can create an echo chamber where you can’t help but fixate on that emotion. People who hold on to their anger often feel entitled to feel this way because of a wrong that may have been done to them, however, holding on to our anger means that we're always on edge and almost anything can trigger a negative response from us. When we don't let go of the anger we are feeling we begin to mistake others neutral expressions, actions or statements for hostility. Even the most genuine of comments can make a person feel as though they are under attack even if they're not. It's important to have a constructive outlet for this emotion and discussing your feelings with a friend can be useful and can help you get a different perspective on the situation. Try to pick someone who lives on the positive side of life as emotions, including happiness are contagious so having a positive friend who can help you vent for a moment might be just what you need to help you relax.   

  

Conclusion  

As a child, I never really knew how to manage my moments of anger and so I would punch through walls, lash out, fight and say hurtful things. It crept in like a monster, making a mess of things and left me to pick up the pieces. As I grew older my only method of managing this was to suppress my anger and this can be equally as dangerous. Using suppression as a method of managing anger can often lead to Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) or even deep depression.  

I've learned that anger is a completely normal part of life and if directed in the right way it can actually be used as a tool that motivates us to create great change in the world. Dr Martin Luther King is a great example of that. He was angry with the state of how black Americans were treated and was moved to take action.   

Anger is something many of us have experienced (on different levels) but how do you balance a healthy containment and expression for that anger? Please share in the comments box below. You never knew who your advice may help. 

Relationship goals! That's been the buzz word of 2016, but, who's setting these unrealistic bars of perfection not even those on the perfectly framed Instagram pics can achieve with any level of consistency? As we kick start 2017 I wanted to share just four simple, realistic and very practical relationship goal that should hopefully alleviate some of the damaging pressures we often put on our relationships and marriages.

 



GOAL #1 Find Your Collective Purpose

It's important to establish a greater purpose for your union? It may seem like a silly question to even ask, but, think about it. Beyond some of our innate human desires like having sex and attaining a sense of belonging, what greater purpose does our union with our spouse fulfil? Who else does our relationship benefit? Sometimes we look at our relationship from an insular perspective. Rather than thinking about what we can get from of the relationship, perhaps our goal should be to reflect on who else will become beneficiaries of your union. How does your relationship impact your partner and your greater circle of influence? There is a greater purpose in giving, so consider what your marriage will provide for your children and even your community.

 



GOAL #2 Become Bilingual Love Communicators

I travelled to Paris for the weekend and, being British, I just expected my English to be widely accepted wherever I went, however to my surprise many of the locals refused to engage in a conversation with me unless I at least tried to speak their language. "Why would they be so difficult?" I found this a bit rude. However, after some thought I discovered, in fact, I was the one being rude. I made no effort to connect with them with a language they were well versed in. Men and woman are no different. We communicate and feel love in different ways. I read a book called "The 5 love languages" by Gary Chapman and learned that we can express and receive love in many different ways (love languages) and because of this fact, it's important to never assume your spouse speaks the same language of love that you do. Learning a love language is not a million miles away from learning to speak French. You start with a few basic words/actions to get by, but then you have to push the limits by trying to converse. Sometimes we'll get a few words wrong and look a bit of a fool, but at least you're one step closer to your goal of becoming more fluent in a language that is foreign to you. I'm rubbish with foreign languages, however, my goal is to remain committed to becoming a bilingual communicator of love. For now... je parle un peu.


GOAL #3 Connect with Married Couples

Research has shown that men and women with close friends or siblings who are divorced are more likely to break up in their own marriages, than if they had happily married friends. This would seem to be common sense. If you hang out with people who are nonchalant about cheating on their partners, you will eventually become desensitised to this issue and find nothing wrong or maybe even sympathise. You become the company you keep. On the other hand, when your social circle mainly consists of long-term, happily married couples, it then helps to provide a more positive view of marriage and even help positively influence your own union. I never had too many friends before, but now I find that most of my friends I do have are happily married. This is very intentional as I find them to be a great source of inspiration. It's also great to know you have genuine friends that are backing your corner against a world that does everything in its power to separate us from our vows. Whether your married or not, this year make it your personal goal to surround yourself with happily married couples who care about the institute of marriage.


GOAL #4 Read and Pray Together

When you do things together you start to share common traits. Take fast food for example. If you and your spouse eat junk food every day then you will both eventually grow overweight together. Whatever you do together will eventually sync your desires, so when we read and pray together we become not only more in sync with God but also with one another too. When my wife and I spend time in the morning reading and praying together, I've found it has a positive effect that filters throughout the day. When it becomes a goal to pursue the kind of relationship that God intended for us, not only do we begin to mature spiritually and in many cases intellectually, but, we also begin to encourage one another in the Word and in Prayer. This is one of the most selfless acts we can do for our spouse to demonstrate our love.



Staying in love in a world where unrealistic relationship goals bombard our timelines and comparisons continually cripple marriages, is becoming increasingly difficult for most. We can change that! If you're married, well... you've enrolled as an ambassador of marriage so let's start to re-establish some #RealRelationshipGoals that provide a holistic perspective on marriage, and sense of realism that flies in the face of the current status quo.

I met up with my brother last week to meet with the latest addition to his/my family and as I held his newborn son in my arms, I suddenly realized that quite a number of my friends and 2 more of my brothers have recently become fathers this year too. For most, it has been a new and completely life changing experience but connecting with some of these guys made me think about my experience becoming a first-time dad and how it change my perspective and approach to parenting.

A study that was done by a UK charity for parents, NCT, found that 1 out of 3 dads struggle to cope with the mental pressures of becoming a new father. I recall when my wife and I first found out that we were expecting and feeling an overwhelming sense of being unprepared and not knowing what to expect and whether or not I’d be a good enough father. I had no idea what kind of money I would need to earn in order to be financially capable of supporting the ever-growing needs of a child and after only being married for 2 years I began to question my ability to juggle being a good husband whilst learning how to be a good father. A lot can go through a man's mind during, probably one of the most significant flag post moments in his life. I was given a verbal checklist of "stuff" to get when having your first child however I wanted to share a checklist of some "stuff" I had to LEARN about becoming a first-time dad.

 

Prepare For The Unexpected

Overly optimistic expectations and a lack of preparation can cause significant distress at a time when new parents already feel vulnerable. In my case, being prepared for fatherhood was easier said than done. I was told that you can never be ready and to some extent, that is very true, however, it's important to not misinterpret this as an opportunity to give license to not be prepared. It's very easy to just go with the notion that if the unexpected is inevitable then what's the point in trying to prepare? Well let me ask this, have you ever had a surprise general pop quiz when you were once in school? Of course you have! We all have. It's the teacher's way of testing us to see if we've been paying attention in class. We can only master the pop quiz by being attentive in class, taking notes and studying what's being taught, however, sometimes you're thrown a few questions or scenarios on the general quiz that you just could not have studied for. Well, it's no different when preparing to become a father. There is no possible way that you could ever completely prepare for every possible scenario thrown at you. Earlier this year I shared my unexpected experience with the BBC which left me feeling massively unprepared, however, I've learned that you can't become an expert in parenting overnight, but, a good place to start is by simply learning a little in a lot of areas. This helped me to be adaptable, kept me on my toes, and helped better prepare me for the unexpected.

 

Be Attentive To The Mother Of Your Child's Needs

It's common for women to have mood swings during and after pregnancy due to the stress, fatigue, and hormonal changes that affect her levels of chemical messengers in the brain. In my experience, I’ve learned that it’s important to tune into not only the needs of your newborn child but it’s equally important to pay close attention to the needs of the mother of your child. Children have the ability to unintentionally drive a wedge between a couple because we take our eye off the ball within our marriage and focus 100% on being parents. Becoming a new father is a completely new experience for us, however, it’s just as new to our partners too. Our job is to make the journey of pregnancy and the transition into parenthood as smooth as possible. 

 

Get Used To Making Sacrifices

From the moment I found out that I was about to become responsible for a child's wellbeing, my desire to fulfil any shellfish needs started to diminish. My perspective on most aspects of my life started to revolve around my position as a father. I don't really do sports on the weekend however if I did I knew that I would have to give some stuff up in order to develop a bond with my child. Some sacrifices came naturally, however, there were some that I've had to really work hard on. The pregnancy period is a great time to practice making sacrifices and you will be required to make more of them once the baby comes along. When I became a father I had to start making sacrifices and think more about what my wife and daughter needed over what I may have wanted. I found that by simply focusing on the purpose of what we do and WHO it benefits, we're able to gain a much clearer picture of what sacrifices need or need not be made.

 

Be Prepared... Financially

A study, carried out by the Centre of Economic and Business Research (CEBR) found that 29% of parents' gross annual income is spent on raising a child. They also discovered that parents face bills of almost a quarter of a million pounds to raise just one child to the age of 21.

With this in mind, there can often be an added amount of internal pressure to increase our income. I experienced this first hand when I was made redundant just one month before my daughter was born. I felt like less of a man and like a redundant, dead-beat-father because of this. I realized that my level of income is not what makes me any more or any less of a father, however, it was my responsibility to become motivated enough to ensure that provisions are made to adequately meet the needs of my child. Providing financially is probably the biggest area of concern for most dads to be.

Providing financially has got to be one of the biggest areas of concerns that most dads have to deal with. Some will tell you that you'll never be financially prepared and in most cases, there is some truth to this, however, although it's hard to say how much money you will need to raise a child you must be prepared to provide food, clothes, fun and educational experiences for your child. The truth is that your responsibilities have now increased and our aim should be to make sure that our income does too! This means that you have to work smarter than you ever have before. The beauty of the added pressure that comes with becoming a dad is that you'll find a new sense of purpose and that will help drive and motivate you to find new and innovative ways to increase your value and worth. Then you'll be able to rise to the challenge of being financially equipped to meet the ever growing needs of your child.

 

There are probably tons of stuff that I have left out so let me know if your experience was similar or if you could add to this short list things I learned when becoming a first-time dad. Let me know in the comments box below.

Couples have heated moments. That's completely natural, however we can often find ourselves making long term decision based on our short term feelings. Some are of the mindset that in order to have a perfect relationship it should be completely argument free. I can assure you that those people are wrong on two accounts:

1. There's no such thing as a perfect relationship
2. Arguments exercise and demonstrate our right to think independently

Arguments are simply a display of two people who are equally passionate about two conflicting ideals. This isn't an issue. We are humans not robots so we are bound to have a conflict of interests at times in our relationships. I've had some epic arguments with my wife. Most of the time it's simply because of a lack of communication and compromise. Truth is, conflict is bound to come up every now and then. The conflict itself is not the issue here, it's our actions and the hurtful words we say in the heat of the moment that may require more of our thoughts and consideration before we speak in frustration and anger.

There’s an art to successfully arguing with your partner, but, if you've clicked on this article to figure out how to successfully "win" an argument with your partner then... well maybe you're meant to be on this page because our goal should not be to simply "win" an argument. In most relationships, marriage, in particular, it's known that if one of us wins, both of us lose. This article is about how we can turn our arguments into building blocks that help strengthen our relationships.

 

Zip It!

Keeping quiet has been one of the hardest things I've had to learn to do, but when you intentionally close your mouth, you're breaking the pattern or habit and start taking control over what comes out of your mouth. You give yourself time to consciously choose the words that you’re going to say. We’ve all had that moment of verbal diarrhoea when a series of words come rushing out from your mouth and the feeling of instant regret overwhelms us. If only we could just think before we speak! Once these moments pass it's too late, the damage is done. Whatever we've said can never be taken back. Our words can not be undone. So practice keeping quiet. Keep it shut! Don’t talk so much. Excessive needless talking is usually a sign of nervousness or for most cases... stupidity. There's a saying that the tongue is a good servant but a terrible master. Putting effort into your moments of silence and controlling your tongue will change your life.

 

 

Use Your Ears

Press pause on the points you are trying to get across, and take a moment to simply listen to what it is your partner is trying to tell you. Once your mouth is closed and you’ve stopped talking, you will be able to clearly hear exactly what she is trying to communicate with you, hear your own thoughts and give yourself processing time to respond wisely and accordingly.
I've worked in sales for most of my adult life and I was always told from an early age by my father that the best salesmen are not those who are the best talkers, they are the best listeners. They take the time to first hear from their potential customer and then tailor their response base on the new found knowledge that could only have been discovered through listening. This is true for relationships also. We can have the gift of the gab and put our points across in a convicting manner, however unless we are first prepared to listen we can not speak to the needs of the person in front of us; our spouse. I can't give my wife want she needs if I haven't taken the time to first listen and hear her heart.

 


Reflect and Empathise

Reflection is something we do not allow ourselves to do often enough. Ever been in a situation where the outcome completely depends on what you say and how you say it? It turns out that your speech has the power to shape your life. Not only can your words create a positive or negative effect on the people and environment around you. Your speech can also influence your thinking and seriously alter the course of your future for the better or for the worse. This is why it's so important we do not just fly off the handle with our responses! Take the time to reflect on what has been said and structure the points you would like to get across. It's also just as important to understand what your partner is truly feeling, and then seek out the path of least destruction when putting our words together. Once you completely understand and have collated your thoughts well, what happens next is entirely up to you, so accept the fact you have complete control of the words you're about to say. No one can push you or make you say anything you don't want to. You are 100% responsible for what comes out of your mouth so reflect and try to come from a place of empathy. 

 


Act Last

When it comes down to it, ultimately you don’t want to say or do anything until you've done the first three points. Make sure you communicate exactly what you mean and remove your emotions and feelings. DO NOT make any long term decisions or say anything you may later regret based on your short term feelings.
Your actions should be based on all the information you have now gathered through following these steps. The truth is this: you cannot control the words, actions or behaviour of your partner, however, you can control yours. So, be intentional about your actions and choice of words and think about the response you would hope to get from it. By being intentional about how you respond when arguments arise, you can seriously help influence and change the tone and direction of the conflict. This process is called modelling, setting the example or even leading from the front. In a nutshell, this is true leadership.


Conclusion

We're very fickle at times, and in the heat of the moment we can allow our emotions to get the better of us. Our poor choice of words and thoughtless decisions are often a result of our emotional, impromptu, knee-jerk responses. Remember, arguments arise when people believe passionately in something enough to remove all sense of logic and fight over that belief. So learn to remove your emotions. Take deep, slow breaths, count to ten and remove self-interest. Try to think of the bigger picture and apply logic. If you are able to get your partner to reveal her true issues and pains, you can think logically and present your proposal as the solution in a constructive manner, that looks to build a stronger bond, better understanding and a better relationship between you both. In marriage, a "successful" argument is resolved with two winners, not one.

  

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How do you turn your arguments into building blocks that help strengthen your relationship?

 

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