10 ways to maintain a balanced relationship

10 ways to maintain a balanced relationship
by Katarina Kovacevic

Being in a relationship can sometimes feel like more work than play and there may be days when the bad seems to outweigh the good. But the most important element in a successful relationship is learning how to work through the tough spots. Arguments are inevitable but just because you and your significant other disagree doesn't mean you're doomed for splitsville. We connected with several relationship experts to get their thoughts on what truly makes a healthy relationship.

Dr. Karen Sherman is a relationship psychologist specializing in premarital, on-going and married relationships and she's got this advice to offer couples:

"Make sure you know the skills to have a healthy conflict," she said. "When a couple is able to do this, they can actually have a more intimate relationship." So an argument from time to time can actually be good for a couple. Just don't hit below the belt!

"Never humiliate your partner publicly or throw something back in his or her face that has been offered to you as something private. These can be more a breach to your relationship than an actual affair." Lesson: what happens in the bedroom stays in the bedroom. Learn how to keep some elements of your relationship private.

"Do not expect your mate to fulfill all of your needs and take time to understand how your partner's needs are met through words and actions." The "you complete me" scene in Jerry Maguire may have had you sobbing like a sucker but learn how to take care of your own needs and nurture your partners – but don't live for them.
Best-selling author Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil was named by New York Magazine as one of the city's top therapists. She prides herself on saving couples from all types of relationship peril, even adultery, and has a 98 percent success rate for saving relationships. Her tips include:

"Give verbal aphrodisiacs daily to your partner," she said. "Tell them they look good, that you loved the dinner they cooked." Who knew foreplay and wordplay went together so well?

"Try to go to bed at the same time every night," she said. "Even if one of you has to get up later for work."

Ladies and gentlemen, it should come as no surprise. Sex is just as important as communication. Thank you, Dr Weil! "Make sex a priority," she said. "Schedule it in. Take turns developing a sexual adventure for your partner. Use sex as a stress buster!"
Susan Barnes is a relationship expert who has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows across the country including Everyday with Rachael Ray and Playboy radio. She specializes in teaching people the art of spiritual romance. She's got this to offer couples"

"Put your partner first," said Barnes. "Put yourself in their shoes and try to think what it's like to be them before making any judgments. Most importantly, trust them." So, the next time you want to go out and party with the girls instead of following through with your set dinner plans, try to think how you'd feel if the tables were turned.

According to Barnes, the language of love comes in many different forms. "There is a fine line between being honest and being cruel. Be honest with kindness and use soft language, don't be brutal." So the next time you're ready to explode, take a step back and reconsider your approach. "And every night before you go to bed, tell your partner seven things that you are grateful for in your relationship."

"Become unbeatable together. Stay strong together under any circumstance and be each other's rock. You are each other's best friend, lover and confidant. Be loyal to one another and don't let anyone talk bad about your partner."

We've always heard it's important to pick your battles and Barnes definitely agrees. "Stop criticizing and complaining to your partner. If you have complaints try writing them down in a notebook and read them later. You'll be surprised how petty they really are.

Ladies Choice: 9 Sexiest Men’s Colognes

Ladies Choice: 9 Sexiest Men’s Colognes
By Brie Gatchalian

You want to buy your new man his next signature scent. He’s been wearing Cool Water long enough. Not sure what to get him? Read on for our 9 picks of sexiest men’s colognes. They’ll benefit his psyche and your nose!

1. Sean John I Am King: For the Over-the-Top Guy

This unique masculine fragrance is both fresh and sensual. Its woodsy undertone on your loved one will make you melt. When we took a whiff, we couldn’t help but swoon a little. Whether you’re a P. Diddy fan or not, you’ll agree with the scent’s power. And for your information, this cologne is not at all subdued–just like its mastermind. Have your man dab it on lightly.

$57 for the 1.7 oz and $74 for the 3.4 oz at Sephora.com

2. Calvin Klein CK One Summer: For Your Summer Fling

This fragrance might be versatile enough to be fit for both you and your date, but it’s got some masculine power left. They say fragrances smell different depending on the wearer–and that is true of this scent. It’s lush and invigorating enough for a woman, yet woodsy and fresh enough for a man.

$44 for the 3.4 oz at Sephora.com

3. Love & Luck by Ed Hardy: For the New Beau

The name wasn’t fooling you and neither is your current beau. This fragrance suits him and the love he has for you. And the best part is, the Asian-inspired tattoo art on its bottle will look fabulous in any beauty bar. When you and your man move in together, you won’t mind this being on your dresser one bit.

$55 for the 1.7 oz and $75 for the 3.4 oz at Sephora.com

4. Only the Brave by Diesel: For the Tough Guy

Your mate might be the type to get into bar fights, but his heart is in the right place. He’s merely protecting your honor and his reputation. This Diesel scent is as masculine as your man–it has a fist-shaped bottle for crying out loud. Thank goodness you find that hot!

$52.50 for the 1.7 oz and $65 for the 2.5 oz at Ulta.com

5. Euphoria for Men by Calvin Klein: For the Best Sex You Ever Had

If there was ever the best time to get a man a gift, my goodness, it should be after your first bedroom romp. Give the gift of euphoria a la scent to the best you’ve ever had. It’s only fair that you return the favor. This ultra-sensuous fragrance comes equipped with notes of ginger, patchouli and amber–sounds hot to me!

$72 for the gift set, which includes a 3.4 oz spray and 3.4 oz aftershave

6. Oceans Water Pure by Nautica: For the Beach Bum

You might get annoyed that your new beau is all about beaching it and surfing–you’d rather him spend more time with you smooching–but he can’t help but love the ocean. Your water baby will love this men’s fragrance. Capturing the essence of the salty ocean air, this Nautica scent combines lemon tonic, florals and sea salt rose, lavender reef and geranium.

$49 for the 1.7 oz and $65 for 3.4 oz at Ulta.com

7. Fuel for Men by Donna Karan: For the Metrosexual

Your man spends more time in front of the mirror than you? No, that’s not weird at all. Many men are all about grooming these days to the point where they need a beauty bar of their own. Give your guy this scent for his growing vanity. Its blend of spices, musks and exotic woods will suit his sophisticated style.

$95 at NeimanMarcus.com

8. Cartier Roadster: For the Guy Who has a Need for Speed

This super-fresh scent is for the manly man who races cars and motorcycles. Take a whiff and it will invigorate you with its crisp notes of mint, patchouli and cashmere woods. The bottle was also inspired by the Roadster watch by the maker–what a remarkable, not to mention sexy, design.

$80 for the 1.7 oz and $105 for the 3.4 oz at NeimanMarcus.com

9. No. 1 Pure Perfume for Men by Clive Christian: For Mr. Fancy

Who knew a fragrance could cost over $2,000? This Clive Christian fragrance is for the fanciest man ever–it’s the world’s most expensive perfume. Not only is the bottle sophisticated with a brilliant-cut diamond, its ingredients of bergamot, lime, mandarin, cardamom, thyme, jasmine, ylang ylang and sandalwood (among others) make it so lux, your fancy beau will love it.


Romantic Ideas: Birthday

#1 On My Hit List
My boyfriend turned 21 on the 26th of October last year, and I was really stuck for gift ideas. After a few days of trying to think of a great idea, a really good one came to me. I checked the Internet for the song hits that fell on his birthday for the past 21 years, and compiled him a CD of the number 1 hits of his birthday for every year that he had been alive. He really liked it, and even though he didn’t especially like every single song on the CD - each of them meant something special to him.


"Meet Me" Birthday Hunt
On my husband's birthday, we were both working and were to meet up at home around 6:30 pm. I managed to get off of work around noon, so I decided to do something really special for him. I set things up with the local bakery, florist, and one of his favorite stores to make the night work. I went home and left a big note on the dining table - a place i knew he wouldn't miss. The note said that I would meet him at the bakery at 7:00. When he got to the bakery, the salesman gave him a cake and another note. This note told him to meet me at the florist, which was nearby. At the florist, he received flowers and a birthday card, as well as another note. The note said that I'd meet him at one of his favorite stores. When he got there, he collected his already-wrapped gift from the salesman along with his final note. It told him that I'd meet him at one of our favorite restaurants. When he reached there, I was waiting for him with candle-lit dinner. We had a memorable evening and he said he loved it!!!


101 Patches of Love
My sister's boyfriend had been planning a surprise for her birthday and wouldn't let anyone in on it. He had been working on this surprise for four months and worked on it nightly. It was driving my sister crazy. Well, anytime my sister's boyfriend came to visit he would talk to my mom about quilts, and who made them in our family. So, when it came time to celebrate my sister’s birthday, he brought two big boxes wrapped up for her. When she opened the first box she found little gifts that he had been picking up from each place they went to, or if he saw something she liked he would buy it and put it in the box. Then the second box was what threw every one for a loop. My sister is in love with cows and the color green. So what her boyfriend had done is hand-sew a king size quilt! One side had cows and the other side was made of different green rectangular patches. At the top of the blanket it said her name and the underneath it said “101 reasons I love you because…” On each different green patch it had a different reason as to why he loved her. Reasons like (you make me smile, you think your shy, I want to grow old with you, only you can scare me, you blush when I compliment you) and in the center of the quilt in the brightest red fabric it said I love you! AND, he did it all himself! He made this entire quilt himself! He also made four matching pillowcases to go along with the quilt. How sweet is that? Needless to say there was a bit of elbowing going on and girls saying how come you never do that for me? It was funny. Now I see how much he truly loves my sister.


'Our' Birthday
It was my birthday but by the end of the night it seemed like it was his. I planned this for awhile to surprise him even though it was my birthday and not his. It was an evening at home and I did the usual champagne, candles and snacks, etc. What I also did was write out about 30 love notes and coupons to my future husband, then roll them up and insert them into a balloon and blow them up. The notes were all different. Some told him to kiss me or rub my back. Some were coupons for him he could redeem at a later date, and some were just me telling him how much I love him. I placed them all over the place. In the tub, on the bed, in the sink, under tables, etc. I also dressed in a very sexy nightie and silk robe. When he walked in he was in shock. I handed him a pin and explained in order for him to know what to do he needed to pop a balloon. This went on for about 2 hours. He was having a ball looking for a balloon and popping it to find out his next mission. He was actually disappointed when they were all gone. It's months later and he still has all the notes. After that game he gave me a candlelight bubble bath and fed me champagne. I had hidden under the bathroom sink another even sexier nightgown that I changed into after the bath which made his eyes pop out. I also wrote on the bathroom mirror in lipstick that I loved him and he was the best present I could ever ask for. By the end of the night it turned into 'our' birthday. It was the most romantic, sensual night of my life and I'm already planning the next 'our' birthday when his comes up in October. It was just crazy fun. You can do anything with the notes. I even stuffed a few Hershey's kisses in some balloons (you stretch the balloon over the candy) and however many kisses were in it was how many times he had to kiss me. Plus the fact that the love this man and I have for each other made it even more special. I'll never forget it.


101 Ways to Love You
Since my boyfriend’s birthday is two days after Valentine’s Day I took him away on a weekend trip and booked a hotel that was still running the Valentine’s Day special packages the following weekend. The package came with the suite, two bottles of champagne, a box of yummy chocolates. When we arrived, on the bed a heart was arranged in rose petals along with a heart around the chocolates and single red rose. The gift he loved the most, however, was the giant card I made that said on the front "101 Ways..." and on the inside it said "...to say I Love You!" On the left side inside the card I wrote out in red and black ink I love you in 101 different languages. I found a website on the computer obviously, but he absolutely adored it!


2 Dozen Roses
For my girlfriend's 24th birthday, I told her to meet me at the mall. I told her I'd be in a store near the entrance waiting for her and wearing a red shirt. Instead, I stood on the other side of the mall with two dozen roses and waited until I saw her go into the store. Then I watched as people came into the mall. Every time I saw someone in a red shirt, I asked them to go into the store and give her a rose. I did that twelve times, and after the twelfth person came out, I walked into the store holding the other dozen roses. My girlfriend started crying when she saw me. She said it was the best birthday she's ever had!


20 Rose Filled Memories
My boyfriend and I have a long-distance relationship, where we don't get to see each other for up to 5 months at a time. We don't get to celebrate either of our birthdays together because of this. For his 20th birthday, I wanted to send him something special, so I bought 20 plastic long-stemmed roses that looked like the real thing (I couldn't get real ones because I was afraid they would wilt before they got to him). Then I cut 20 small pieces of blue card stock. On each of the cards I stuck a different picture of the two of us together, including photos of us from when we were toddlers and also when we were classmates, because we grew up together. On the other side of each card, I wrote a little love quote and parts of song lyrics that have special meaning for the two of us. Then I tied one card to every rose with some string and put it all in one of those flat gift boxes and got it sent to him for his birthday. He loved the gift and still has all 20 roses sitting in a vase by his bed.


21 Birthday Surprises
I wanted to do something really memorable for my boyfriend's 21st birthday. I told him to set aside an entire day for us to spend together. When he woke up that morning, I had already made breakfast. On the dining room table was a small card with the number 1 printed on the front of the envelope. I told him he would get 21 of these cards to go along with 21 presents throughout the day, but he wasn't allowed to open the sealed cards until the end of the night. There were presents everywhere; in my car, in his car, in the bathroom, closets, etc. The presents weren't big...the only expensive things were a shirt and a picture frame. He got his favorite candy, a matchbox truck (because he said he wanted a truck), a hug, a kiss, etc. It became like a game to him. After I took him out to dinner (present #17), we went back to my place where I finished up with a back massage (#18), a CD with romantic songs, and dancing in a candlelit room (to the CD). Finally, when the time was right, I handed him the 21st card, which was unsealed. The note in that card told him to open the other cards for a surprise. On each card I had written a single line to a poem I composed. I also gave him a copy of the full poem in a cute frame to keep. It took a lot of planning, but he loved everything and it was totally worth it!


21 Ways You Drive Me Crazy
Before my now boyfriend turned 21 last year on the 21st of December, I wanted to show him how much I cared for him. So I decided to get creative and made twenty-one little notes saying how much he drives me crazy and stuck them into twenty-one fortune cookies. I put the fortune cookies in a bucket that I decorated with our pictures and surprised him with it at work on December 1st. I told him he needed to open one fortune cookie a day ‘til his birthday, read the notes, paste the notes on a card I made, and it would reveal a message on the last day (his birthday). He was a sport and played along, excited every morning to open a new fortune cookie. Until this day, he kept the fortune cookies and said he would never eat them because it is a memory of the first birthday I spent with him.


24 Ways Birthday
The day before my husband's 24th birthday I went over to one of our friend’s house and handed him 24 birthday cards to give out to all of my husband’s friends. I arranged it so that about every 1/2 hour someone he knew would hand him a birthday card from me throughout the day! The morning of his birthday I put cards all around the house in places he usually went, like the mirror, closet, and so on. I also had a bunch of balloons delivered to his work. When he came home I gave him a card that told him to get ready because we were going out to our favorite restaurant. I then gave him 24 instant scratch-off lottery tickets. While we were gone, I had my friend decorate our house with all kinds of stuff. On his bed I had them use Hershey’s kisses to spell out "I love you" and a have a palm pilot wrapped next to it. He still talks about how special I made him feel that day.


Romantic Ideas: Anniversary

Idei Romantice pentru aniversari:

100 Days
On our 100th day anniversary I wrote up 100 reasons why I love him. He wasn't expecting it at all and loved every reason.

100 Reasons
For our 3-month anniversary I made a list of 100 different reasons why I loved my guy. They were just simple things like how he says I love you. Each month I give him another reason to add to his list. It's a fun way to keep the romance alive. We both love it!

100 Reasons Picnic
I got this idea from combining two of my favorite ideas on this website! I realized after reading an idea about this couples 100th day anniversary, my boyfriend and I's 100th day anniversary was coming up. I typed up 100 reasons why I love him and cut out each one out. Then, I blew up 100 balloons, and put one reason in each balloon. He had to pop them to find the next one. I had a balloon that said START which was kind of an introduction to the game and one that said END which contained a large note that said "I love you" on it. The setting this whole time was in my bedroom with candles lit and blankets down with a picnic basket fully prepared--an indoor picnic in the bedroom with 100 reasons why I love JT right in front of him!

1000 Days
I was thinking of a way to celebrate my 2 1/2 year anniversary with the woman I love, and tried to figure out how many days it had been since we've been dating. I went to a calendar website, and found out 2 1/2 years is just shy of 1000. I found out that our 1000 day anniversary will be on July 14, and I've developed a plan for that day. I'm going to buy 1000 silk rose petals, and a silver calligraphy pen, and write "I love you" on each one. It'll take a while, but I told her that I didn't want to go a day without saying I love you.

1000 Yellow Daisies
This has never happened to me before but is my idea of an incredibly romantic gesture. If you want to be really romantic to your girlfriend on whatever anniversary you want, buy her 1000 yellow daisies (or a flower that she likes) and have them put in a room in her house or office as a surprise. It might be a little expensive but she will love it!

12 Months of Us
For our first anniversary my boyfriend gave me a heart shaped box. Inside I found 12 postcards. When I read them I discovered they had a love poem written by him; one verse per card. The poem told the story of the year we’ve spent together. What’s more… on each card there was a picture of us related to that particular month. I was in tears when I saw it and it was really the sweetest thing he has ever given me.

122% In Love
For our 1-year anniversary, I was away at a tournament. When I got back home 3 days later, I entered my room to find my boyfriend had hung hearts of different sizes from my ceiling from different lengths. He had cut out 21 hearts- 20 each said "5%" on one side and on the other, reasons why he loved me such as "your smile." The biggest heart hanging at the entrance to my room said "22%" (my favorite number) and "I love you for being you." It added up to 122%. It was by far the best gift ever!

182 Days of Love
Our two year anniversary is just right around the corner. I really wanted to do something special for the one true love of my life. Our 2 years falls on December 8th and we are engaged to be married on June 8th. I figured out that there are 182 days between those dates. I bought a journal that said Memories on the front of it and I came up with 182 reasons of why I loved her so much. I then wrote the date and a reason I loved her on each and every page. I also included little memories or described why I loved her. It was really hard work and took a lot of time, but it was worth it. I am just now to the last three pages and I can't wait to give it to her. I know she will love it.

1st Year Wedding Anniversary
The traditional wedding gift for the first year of marriage is paper. I had saved every love note and card my husband had ever given me. Even the ones before we got married. I found a simple letterbox at an antique store. I filled the box with all the letters, which I gave to him the night of our anniversary. He cried, and he never cries!

24 I Love You's
This anniversary was important to me because it was the longest relationship I've ever had. I bought her the movie we saw on our first date and added my ticket stub with it. I also gave her a hand-written card. I wrote, "I love you" in 24 different languages (one for every week we've been together) and said, "No matter how many different ways there are to say it, there aren't enough ways for me to truly express how much I love you." She loved it. We're still together going on 11 months.

Source: lovingyou.com