A special day

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I recently surprised my wife with a day out in the county we live in, which is in the south west of England called Cornwall. I thought long and hard about the types of thing she would like to do and planned an itinerary for the day, to try and give her the most fun day possible.

I think it is important when you are in a relationship to stop and do things like this from time to time. There are many tasks and activities in day-to-day life that can take up your time and take your focus away from your relationship and your loved one. So every chance we get we should make time for our loved ones and put them first. There is nothing like making someone feel loved and feeling loved by your partner.

Investment

I think one of the best investments you can make in life is in to your family and I for one am going to try and invest as much as I can in them. The more you invest your time, energy and money in to other things the stronger they will become and the weaker your family will be. I think when you are doing things in life you should always keep your family in mind. You might not always have the same job, the same friends, the same house and the same amount of money but if you invest in your family you will always have a strong unit to fall back on for love and support.

In life sadly there are too many people who never put anyone else first. I think it is important if we are to be a caring and loving society to have more people who are willing and able to put others first. We need more selfless acts carried out in this world, where people do nice things without wanting anything in return.

Creating memories

By having a day away with my wife doing things we wouldn’t normally do, we created memories and instead of it just being a run of the mill day we will always look back on it with fondness.

I am blessed to live in such a nice, picturesque county but the trap I fall in to like many others is – not taking advantage of it. We are one of the top holiday destinations in the UK for tourists so I think we should get the best of it too. Going on holiday or having a break doesn’t have to be about getting aboard a plane or heading for some exotic location. To me a holiday is just time away from the home to enjoy, relax and recharge.

So lets try and make as many days in our lives as special as we can.

The best way to win an argument is to avoid them

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I think one of the most futile things in the world is an argument. In the instant world we live in, people seem to make arguments out of anything these days. People seem to go online with a want to argue with people or the want to try and start an argument.

If you seriously care about educating someone or changing someone’s opinion I think having an argument is one of the least effective ways of making a difference. If someone thinks they are right and you try and argue with them, all that it is more than likely to do, is get their back up even more and for that person to dig their heels in further. The problem with the internet these days is that you can literally find something to back up any argument and then you wait and watch, when you argue with someone online, for them to come running back with some links they have found.

Relationships

Arguing only leads to break downs in relationships and makes it even harder for you to get your point across to the person you are arguing with, as they are less likely to listen to you. Remember what you say only matters, if the person you want to listen is listening.

Nobody wants to look stupid or be embarrassed. No one likes to get things wrong or be ganged up upon. This is why so many of us are afraid to lose arguments. Taking that step of admitting defeat or being wrong is a step too far for many people, because instead of treating it as learning or being better informed they can’t get past the not wanting to be seen to be wrong.

Challenging

When trying to challenge someone’s views or change their opinions I would always advise of doing this out of the public sphere. You are more likely to be effective in person, talking to someone one-on-one and someone is more likely to listen to you, as they don’t have the worry of other people watching or getting involved, like you have online.

When you are arguing with someone, even if they keep coming back at you, the person might be being affected by what you are saying but they will never admit it and you will never know, these are more reasons why I think arguing is futile. The dangerous thing with arguments is that sometimes the smallest disagreement can lead to the biggest argument and the argument then grows so big that you lose perspective, on how it started and what you are arguing for.

Approaches

This is why I dislike it when I see people out and about whilst on a high street on a busy shopping day who are from churches and ministries (or more often one man mission) who are handing out leaflets and telling people they are going to hell or that they need to repent. The reason I hate it is, more often that not all that approach starts is an argument. If arguing with people worked, every church would be doing it and everyone would be a Christian.

Instead of rushing to an argument when someone says something you disagree with, why not take a moment and ask yourself why you think that person thinks the way they do. Try and understand the person’s past, because normally there are clues there and then try and work out what is the best way to engage with them. Timing is also key, as when someone is feeling emotional about a topic its probably not the best time to bring it up with them.

I’m not saying avoid the hard topics and the hard conversations as I think these are the most important ones to have. There are so many views in this world that need to be challenged, but challenged doesn’t mean argued. To me the more you have to argue the less strong your point is, as it is normally the views that don’t need an argument to back them up that are the best.

An important thing to do is not to take everything on your shoulders; it is not your job in life to change everyone’s viewpoints. You have to be wise and know when someone else might have a better chance than you of changing someone’s mind and leave it to them.

Just remember if you show someone you love them they will be more likely listen to you.

Anniversary

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This weekend I will celebrate my first wedding anniversary with my wife. I have been reflecting a lot this week on our first year of marriage. Feels literally just like yesterday that we were getting married. Since we’ve been married we’ve both embraced new challenges and opportunities in life together, travelled abroad and gone about setting up a lovely home.

On this day last year, my wife and I would have been working feverishly to get things done for our wedding, as we did a DIY wedding and created everything from the order of service to the food at our wedding breakfast. Because we were so busy we didn’t really get time to sit and enjoy the build up to the day but even though it was super busy, it was still fun and I am still so proud of the day we created.

As an anniversary present for my wife I have been editing our wedding footage together this week and am hopeful that by the weekend we will have an amazing video that we can keep forever. The church service for our wedding was absolutely amazing, even watching it back as I edit it I am taken back to the feelings and emotions I had that day.

I think milestones are important and any chance to celebrate a relationship or an event should be taken. I know some people don’t make a big fuss of their anniversary but I am so glad my wife and I have the time off this weekend to celebrate it properly. I just hope that we are blessed with 70 more anniversaries at least, as getting married to my wife was the most amazing thing I have ever done in my life and the best decision I have ever made.

I would like to congratulate everyone out there who is celebrating an anniversary this year and never forget, anniversaries are what you make them.

Are you listening?

The older I get the more I notice that we live in a world where there are more people that want to talk than want to listen. The art of listening has been lost for many I believe, with people fighting to make sure theirs is the opinion voiced and that no one else can get a word in edge ways. Talking a lot and talking about what you want to talk about seem to be some badge of success in professional and social realms.

I am a listener and I believe without listeners this world and the people in it wont be as successful as all of them could be. I also think there is much to applaud in those people that actually think before they talk and that are able to say the right things at the right time. Quality and quantity are two very different things and if you have a lot of quantity in what you say, the quality will be lost.

We’ve all been in those meetings when people are just talking for the sake of talking, because they need to be seen to be leading the conversation or having opinions on things to justify their involvement. In meetings I think it is always important to ask the opinions of the quieter ones because normally they are the ones listening and the ones that will have interesting insight in to the issues at hand.

We’ve all been at those parties and social gatherings where people are trying to dominate conversations to try and be the ‘cool’ one, trying to show off or just trying to make sure they get to talk about what they want to talk about. Sadly I think its these people that struggle to notice when people aren’t listening, so they might as well be talking to a brick wall. In many cases the more you talk the more people around you are switching off.

Some people think that by talking a lot you can hide an inadequacy, a lack of knowledge and that it impresses. I personally think it just highlights these things and doesn’t impress.

So remember, just by talking it doesn’t mean people are listening. Communication is a two way street, the more you show that you can listen the more people will want to listen to you. The art of talking should be about people listening. Don’t forget its not just about the words coming out of your lips its about your relationship with the people you are talking to and how they perceive you. I would work on these things first before opening my mouth to speak as if you do, the words coming out of your mouth are going to mean so much more.

Ask yourself this question – did you learn more by listening or by talking today? To improve as a person I always think it is more important to learn about more things than you could ever get round to talking about in your lifetime.

Facebook

I have to admit to checking my Facebook feed about 50 million times a day. At the end of each day I would hate to think how much time of my day had been spent reading it. Every once in a while I learn something about a friends life but for the most its words and photos that I won’t remember tomorrow.

I use to be guilty of putting a post or update up just to see how many likes I got. I think for many people Facebook is a place to show off, to validate their own existence or to try and make them look better than other people. They don’t care what names and what people like their status they only care about the number of likes.

Why should a post about me going to work at Wembley Stadium get more likes than a post saying that I am having a good afternoon with my family? At the end of the day or the end of your life what is more important? To me I would say its spending time with your family. I think we need to start liking people living happy and fulfilled lives and not just people showing off.

For me life is about relationship and I think Facebook should be the same, the more you care for others, hopefully the more they will care for you. Instead of just stalking people online or just liking statuses all the time lets work on our relationships, as clicking a button does not a relationship make.

Don’t take peoples Facebook accounts at face value. A Facebook profile for many is a projection of what they hope or want life to be. So don’t just like what they say, engage with what they are saying and connect with them properly so you know how they are really feeling. Lets enjoy the good moments together and be there for the hard times and lets know how people are really feeling.

Recently I had a huge cull of friends on Facebook and it was easier than I thought it would be. I had lots of people on there that I hadn’t seen or spoken to in years and is that really a friend? Yes I may get a lot less likes to the posts I put up from now on but after re-evaluating, that is not what I am on Facebook for.