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The Best Workout Is "SEX"A Gay Guide to Your Ideal Marriage
By Alvin Lopez-Woods Antonio Lopez-Woods
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Alvin Lopez-Woods & Antonio Lopez-Woods
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLove You or Heart You
Prior to exploring a relationship, work to discover you. Far too often, people fail to realize the importance of loving themselves before successfully being able to love another person. We all share the common need to be loved and are quick to find gratification with that at-the-moment someone for all the wrong reasons. The cosmic journey of a romantic relationship is difficult enough when all the stars are aligned, so imagine the treacherous voyage ahead if you are not in love—with you.
Fall in Love with the Person You See in the Mirror Every Day. It sounds simple to do, right? Sadly, it's not that easy. Self-hatred can cause you to make horrible decisions in life, especially with matters of the heart. Loving yourself can be a daunting task when you feel like you are not worthy of such affection. Work to overcome personal speed bumps and realize that you are much stronger than the burdens that dwarf your progress.
To build love within, start each and every day by motivating yourself with personal words of encouragement. You'll probably have some difficulty nourishing your own spirit at the beginning of this exercise but the personal relationship builder with yourself will soon become second nature. Being in a comfortable state of reassuring yourself is an essential sign that you are indeed falling in love with the person you see in the mirror.
Once the confidence boosting mirror exercise is mastered, personal worth and self-esteem will surely blossom. Take this into consideration—if you can't stand your own company, it's a guarantee that those who associate with you will share the same difficulty.
The Person You Want to Become. Now that your self-assurance is headed in the right direction, it's time to focus on who you are as well as the person you want to be. Find it within yourself to develop realistic goals that will lead you toward the person you want to become. Without attainable plans, there is no way to truly pinpoint where you're going. Think about this—mature people seeking solid relationships tend to want someone that has a personal plan to succeed as well as a plan of action.
Don't Bring Negative Experiences of Your Past into the Present. Living in a moment of irrationality, due to clouded thoughts of a stormy past, is easy. You must change your thought process in order to get through dark moments that have happened in life. It can become downright annoying for your significant other to deal with a person, who consistently plays the victim by overreacting to situations solely based on what they have previously experienced.
Be Gentle with You. Everyone has a story and may think that their situation is far worse than the next person. Get real. Stop milking the victim role by meandering in the past and jump into the present, or you will remain stagnant in life and love. Working to alter your perception of life will definitely be a challenge. With that being said, it can be accomplished. Do your best to not beat yourself up if the changes you want in life aren't coming to fruition as fast as you may have hoped. If you can't let go of the past in the very moment, don't worry your fragile heart. Be gentle enough with yourself to embark on a life changing excursion and your time will come.
Loving yourself before you can attempt to romantically love someone else is an absolute must.
Chapter TwoThe Art of Support
Relationships are best when both partners are a vital support system for one another. Have you learned how to be your partner's biggest "cheerleader?" Learn how to support your partner's dreams, goals, and aspirations in all stages of life. Put forth a strong effort to understand what your partner wants to do in their life. Doing so will allow you to not become a "Debbie Downer" to their dreams. There is nothing worse than a partner attempting to do what is best for their hopes and dreams but constantly dealing with a partner who is combative, due to a lack of understanding. If your partner has to make a decision related to work that you truly don't understand, don't make their decision about you—never hold them back.
Make Your Significant Other's Dreams Just as Important as Your Aspirations. A relationship is destined to fail if you are not dedicated to the dreams of your lover as if they were your own. As one part of a couple, make it a priority that both parties are enthusiastically working toward respective goals. You should be working to create a shared vision with your partner. Soon, both of you will be completely invested in each other's ambitions.
Become Their "Personal Cheerleader." Enthusiasm and words of encouragement toward your partner's road to success will absolutely make them feel as if they are on top of the world.
Go out of your way to congratulate your significant other when they are conquering their goals. You should be ecstatic that your romantic counterpart is working to be a success, so express those feelings! Take time to write personal notes applauding your lover's accomplishments. Physically become a part of their achievement when possible. Let them know that they are doing a great job. If you are not able to physically tell your partner how happy their accomplishment made you, a quick phone call will suffice in that moment. You have no idea how the aforementioned suggestions will positively register with your partner.
Help the Love of Your Life Achieve. Get in the habit of asking, "How can I help?" Yes, we are aware that most couples do not share professional interests but don't let that hinder you. The goal is to be an extra set of hands, not to be a contributing team member of their project. Your partner will appreciate you being there for them in a time of need.
Elle-Woods Personal Note from Alvin: We do our best to assist each other whenever possible. Fortunately, Antonio and I have career paths that complement one another. As a publicist and brand manager, I do my best to make sure that my husband is networking with people who can influence his budding artistic career. There have also been times when he has introduced me to an entrepreneur looking to build a buzz for a new brand. We have an understanding that if he succeeds, so do I. Most successful people have a dynamic partner at their side—be that forceful counterpart for your significant other.
Be Prepared to Pick 'Em Up if They Fall. Learn to empathize with your partner and provide encouragement when they are feeling down. You have to be prepared at all times to weather the personal storm of your counterpart. If your partner feels as if their world is crumbling, you have to reprioritize energy and immediately jump into their mindset. Even though you are in the same mental space, highlight an optimistic thought process. That positive eternal support will forever be valued. Imagine how much of an intense connection the two of you will develop as romantic partners. There's nothing sexier than a supportive spouse.
Chapter ThreeR.E.S.P.E.C.T. and Appreciate Me
The ideal marriage is dependent on respecting your partner for who they are as an individual. It's imperative to show constant appreciation for the love of your life. You have to hold your partner in the highest regard and give them all the impartiality that they deserve.
Empowerment is Love. To love your partner is to empower them. Think about it—the most substantial gift that you can give your romantic counterpart is uplifting their spirit. Being a part of a successful union will indeed give both parties a sense of authority and responsibility to respect one another.
A major first step to empowering your partner is to truly accept them. The utmost respect is to at no time ever want to change the personality or character of your significant other. You made a conscious decision at the beginning of your romantic journey to love someone for the person that they were in that particular moment, so let them be. When you hold your partner at the highest regard, it will allow continued growth in their direction of choice.
A certain level or respect for the person you love will make or break your ideal union. Hopefully you and your partner are, at the very least, on the cusp of making the romantic merger work. If so, you are well on your way to living the dream that you want with your significant other. If not, there is much emotional work that needs to be done. Don't feel defeated, just put in the effort.
Express How Much You Value Your Relationship. There can never be too much emphasis put on how much you appreciate the relationship that is being built with both you and your partner. "The little things" should always be the most important aspect of a solid marriage. Do your best to make your partner feel appreciated every day. Treat them to sporadic "I Love You" or "Thank You for Being You" moments, just because. Small thoughtful gestures will absolutely make your partner's day as it shows your significant other that you are thinking of both them and your relationship. We're not saying that you need to devote every moment to pampering your mate but a great token of affection once-in-a-while goes a long way.
Always remember that neither you nor your partner has done each other a favor by being in a relationship together. If you are constantly feeling as if you are doing some sort of charity work in a partnership, your energy is in the wrong place and you may need to reconsider your motives.
Reciprocity. Relationships are all about a mutual effort of give and take. Both parties have to cooperate with one another to not only achieve a successful partnership but also to accomplish individual life goals.
Learn how to reciprocate positive energy and admiration for one another. There should never be an instance where one person in a relationship constantly depletes the energy of another. Some days you may need to fully support your partner but there will definitely be times when you need that attention as well. Have those important conversations with your partner in which you state what you need from them. You should never be surprised by what your partner will provide to you emotionally.
Elle-Woods Personal Note from Antonio: Our relationship is an ongoing learning process and we have educated each other on how to be more pleasant to not only each other but also to others in which we come into contact. Being upbeat with a sense of understanding to those around us on a regular basis allows a cheerful domestic atmosphere. Now we effortlessly reciprocate a strong appreciation and mutual respect for one another. Our house is filled with polite gestures such as "please" and "thank you."
Chapter FourCome and Talk to Me
We've all heard that communication in a relationship is important but open conversation and dialogue about all topics, without judgment, is the "blood line" to an ideal marriage. You should be married to your best friend so why would there be any secrets or topics that are off limits?
Listen with a Non-Judgmental Heart. Extreme importance must be put on empathizing with your partner. A crucial element of any successful relationship and marriage is to understand the feelings of your significant other. This act of compassion will eliminate judgment and serves as an integral key to open and honest conversation between the both of you.
Always remember that it isn't your place to judge your partner. Keep in mind that you will need their ear at some point and will not feel like fully expressing yourself if you feel as if your thoughts are being dissected.
Elle-Woods Personal Note from Alvin: Remember to regularly immerse yourself in listening when your partner speaks. I've learned to make my husband feel as if there is nothing more important than what he is saying. This learning has been substantial for me because in that moment, there is truly nothing more important than what's going on in his mind and heart. It has been my obligation to ensure my partner that I should be the first person he wants to talk too and confide within.
Your Secrets are Safe with Me. Do you remember how you told your closest friends everything as a child? Now that you are in a committed relationship, your partner should be that number one confidant at all times. Develop a "safe zone" during conversations with your significant other so that they are comfortable having intimate conversations with you.
Seriously, if your spouse isn't comfortable talking to you, who will they confide in when there is a need to do so? Do your best to make sure that your significant other knows exactly where their secrets are being stored.
Nothing off Limits. Your "safe zone" has already been established so hopefully the two of you are building a rapport in which all topics are up for discussion. You should be able to talk openly with your partner about insecurities and fears in the same way that goals and dreams are discussed. Yes, it may be difficult at times to open up about certain topics but the beauty of a successful romantic partnership is that you have an around-the-clock buddy for pillow talk. If you cannot communicate throughout the day, find time to talk on a daily basis. Never allow your emotions or thoughts on any topic to fester within. Encourage one another to become an "open book" as solid communication builds character of a relationship. It is so liberating to know that you can be as expressive as you want to be with your life partner.
Chapter FiveHey, I'm on Your Team!
A solid marriage or relationship will never work if each person involved holds onto their individual ego. We all take frustrations out on the people that are closest to us but we must refrain from treating our significant other negatively without merit. Taking cheap shots at your partner when you are angry does nothing but put unnecessary cracks in the foundation that the two of you are building. Treat your romantic relationship as if it is you and that person against the rest of the world.
I'm Not Your Enemy. Take note—The two of you are on the same team; there is no need to tear your partner down so that you feel better. Losing your temper happens but as an adult, it is up to you to control yourself. Never resort to physical abuse or continuously remind your significant other of their faults by re-introducing old problems that caused a dispute. If you are with the right person, you will feel personal disgust that you sunk low enough to tear down your only teammate.
It can be way too easy to hit your partner below the belt when you are angry. Always remember that minor domestic spats will end and there will be no love lost between the two of you. Know that every couple will argue and have challenges but do your best as a team to not let family and friends know your trials—prepare to solve the quarrel amongst the two of you.
Words Hurt. Do your absolute best to think about what you say to your significant other when you are upset. This tip is by far one of the most difficult in which to follow through. In the moment you may be thinking that since you are hurting, you want your partner to feel pain as well. This approach will get you nowhere.
Many people say hurtful things to their significant other in order to create a false sense of happy within. If your other half is slinging hateful words toward you, don't join in on the degrading party. Distasteful words thrown at each other during an argument will continuously play back in your mind and can be detrimental to a progressive relationship. Just as physical abuse is not appropriate, verbal abuse should also be locked away in a box never to be opened. Precious intimate encounters are what brought you to this current point in your life. Take the past as learning experiences that ultimately led to your new happy state of being. Never recreate negative moments, because all that you will be left with are sad memories.
You must uplift your partner through words. Never orally assault them to the point that they feel defeated. Remember that your tone does indeed matter! It may be too difficult for your partner to focus on what you are actually saying because of the way you are saying it.
You're Hostile but Identify the Real Issue. Arguments tend to escalate due to an underlying issue that has nothing to do with the current disagreement. Put aside your pride in the moment to pinpoint why you are truly angry. Feel out your partner's energy and connect with them through the dispute. Grow closer as a couple after petty arguments take a turn for the worse by identifying the root of an argument.
Excerpted from The Best Workout Is "SEX" by Alvin Lopez-Woods Antonio Lopez-Woods Copyright © 2012 by Alvin Lopez-Woods & Antonio Lopez-Woods. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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