Every day I wake up and choose to be in a relationship; it's a conscious decision that includes committing to keeping the love alive. My decision to be engaged is a choice. It takes work, even flexibility, to cultivate and preserve happiness. Real love isn't just a euphoric, spontaneous feeling––it's a deliberate choice––a plan to love each other for better and worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health.
After five years, I am more in love than ever and confident that I chose the right mate for me. How do I know this? I enjoy his companionship, our healthy debates, and our commitment to our family. We are perfectly imperfect, but happy nonetheless. Above all things, we understand our love is bigger than us. Not only does it affect us as individuals, but it also affects our future children, our family, our friends, and our community. For those reasons, we must have a shared vision of success.
Here are seven habits of happy couples that I deem necessary for the vitality of relationships.
Be Honest About Your Feelings, Be Honest With Your Mate
Vulnerability is the pinnacle of any relationship. Emotional vulnerability is the willingness to acknowledge your emotions, especially the painful ones. It can help you resolve issues and get what you need from your relationship. Executive dating coach, Connell Barrett, says speaking honestly about your emotions is a crucial part of forging a healthy, long-lasting bond with your partner.
Become a Better Listener to Your Partner
I cannot stress enough the importance of listening to your partner. Being an active listener in a relationship means that you recognize that the conversation is more about your partner than about you. It allows you to focus entirely on the emotions and experiences of your partner. Rather than planning out how you should respond or what you want to say next, you can remain fully open and engaged. When your partner feels heard, they feel appreciated.
Establish Common Hobbies
Establish common hobbies and interests to fortify your relationship. Whether it's photography, sports, cooking, or just simply shopping, it can decrease conflict and strengthen the idea that you and your partner are a team. However, if husbands and wives have a firm grasp of their roles as partners, lovers, or parents, but fail to understand what it means to be friends, they are missing out on a key component of their relationship. This does not mean you have to do everything together; you should still have your interests to preserve and maintain your own identity.
Spoil Each Other
It shouldn't take a birthday or holiday to do something special for your partner. Spoiling each other keeps things interesting, as well as makes room for spontaneity. Spoiling someone isn't just about money or material things, it also includes giving attention and affection. Surprise them on a weekday with their favorite things; dinner and a movie is always a good idea.
Be Physically Affectionate Whenever Possible
I start each morning by waking my partner with a kiss. It's my way of staying connected and embracing intimacy. Even though he's asleep, the love is still real. Clinical sexologist Charley Ferrer says, "Couples should take five minutes each morning and each night to simply hold each other. This is a wonderful way to start and end your day. Though you may give a hug before leaving for work or hug your partner before falling asleep, this is a focused moment to consciously share with your partner." While sex is important, two lovers can engage in foreplay, knowing how each other prefers to be touched. Intimacy can help you feel more loved and less alone.
Extend Grace to Your Partner
Ahhh, let me say this louder for the people in the back: EXTEND GRACE TO YOUR PARTNER. I'm not talking about forgiving them for their indiscretions, but rather the things like being late - for the first or second time - not washing the dishes, or not calling when they got to their destination. Nobody's perfect, and people mess up, even with the most minuscule of things. When you refuse to forgive, it will poison your thoughts, your heart, and your relationship.
Express Gratitude, and Then Do It Again
Gratitude plays a big part in the happiness of a union. You can express sincere gratitude for everything from dinner, cleaning of the house, to them remembering to wash your clothes on 'delicate'. Gratitude can help relationships thrive by promoting a cycle of generosity. That is, one partner's gratitude can prompt both partners to think and act in ways that convey gratitude to each other and promote commitment to their relationship. When we express ourselves with passion, it is always magical and filled with love.
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Featured image by Shutterstock.
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Ayana Iman is a certified life coach, professional speaker, and mama of one based in New Jersey. She's also known for her love of big hair, travel, and cooking. Find her across social @AyanaIman.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
I Tried One Of The Most Popular Sex Toys On The Market & Now I Get The Hype
Not sure which sex toy to buy to spice up your bedroom sessions? The Satisfyer Pro 2 Next Generation (NG) may be one to consider. It is one of the most popular clitoral toys on the market. This revolutionary toy transformed the way people experience pleasure during sex and has taken the world by storm.
Satisfyer Pro 2 NG differs from your typical vibrator because it offers indirect clitoral stimulation using air pulse technology and an oval-shaped mouth that makes stimulating your clitoral hood easy. Since it's inexpensive and has received a lot of great reviews, it's an excellent choice for those who are new to clitoral toys.
Design & Features of Satisfyer Pro 2
The Satisfyer Pro 2 NG is a clitoral stimulator that features 11 different settings and a unique design that allows for maximum stimulation and pleasure. The head of the toy is made from soft, flexible silicone, which provides a gentle but powerful massage that stimulates all parts of your body while still remaining comfortable enough to use over long periods. The handle is ergonomically designed, so it fits easily in your hand and can be maneuvered with ease. Additionally, it's waterproof, so you can take it with you into the shower or pool without worry.
Another feature of the Satisfyer Pro 2 NG is a set of buttons that control its suction intensity. The round power button and a much larger oval-shaped button that's close to the nozzle each have a "+" and "-" on them, which you press to adjust the strength of the suction.
Satisfyer Pro 2 NG
Compared to the previous model, the Pro 2's controls are easier to use and more intuitive. The + and - buttons are now joined together, which means they're easy to find even when you're not looking at the device.
The Satisfyer Pro 2 NG is designed to provide intense pleasure through its 11 different settings. The settings range from gentle pulsations to powerful vibrations that give you more control over how deep your orgasm will go. You can easily build up to an orgasm without causing a huge jump, and you can back off at lower levels to prolong your pleasure.
I prefer the lower settings for an orgasm that feels more chill, but there are plenty of higher settings if you want to push things a bit harder. I've had no issues with this toy causing bruises or pain, but you should be prepared to test it out before deciding on the right setting for you.
My Honest Thoughts
One of my favorite things about this toy is that it can be controlled through the Satisfyer Connect app, which you can download for free. This allows you to control your Satisfyer Pro 2 NG through a smartphone or tablet. The app also lets you select the vibration pattern and intensity that you'd like to use. There are ten different vibration patterns and intensities available, so there is plenty to choose from. There are also a few pre-programmed options, which is a nice addition.
It's worth noting that you don't have to use the funnel-like tip that comes with the Satisfyer Pro 2 NG, as there are many different shaped silicone heads available that will fit most users. You can buy a pack of five for under $10, which gives you a great variety to choose from. Lastly, the battery life is also impressive, lasting up to two hours on a single charge, so there's no need to worry about running out of power in the middle of an intimate session!
All in all, I think that the Satisfyer Pro 2 NG is an excellent choice if you're looking for a high-quality sex toy that will provide intense pleasure every time. The combination of pressure waves and vibrations makes this toy incredibly versatile and easy to use and operate, even for beginners. Additionally, its waterproof design ensures that it can be used in any environment without concern for damage or malfunction due to water exposure.
So if you're looking for something new and exciting in the bedroom, consider giving the Satisfyer Pro2 NG a try! You won't regret it!
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