Hilton Alexander Mark Hotel        5000 Seminary Road, Alexandria VA 22311                            REGISTER TODAY

10 Ways to Reconnect with your Partner during the Holidays!

Written by Kylie Davis, Marketing Intern

The holiday season is normally spent giving back to others, your children, families, but what about your spouse? After all of their help and hard work, you both deserve a little TLC. Here are some awesome ways to reconnect with your partner in crime during the hustle and bustle of the holidays:

*Host a hot chocolate and marshmallow party with other couples! This is a great way to reconnect with your neighbors and your honey while making amazing new hot chocolate creations.  http://dailysavings.allyou.com/2014/11/19/hot-chocolate-recipes/

*Put those awesome new games you just bought the children to use! Have a “parents only” game night and bring out the kid in both of you.

*Have a favorite holiday movie? Watch it! Don’t skip out on the movie theater popcorn!

*Didn’t make it up to NYC this holiday? Recreate the scene by driving around the neighborhood and checking out the different decorations. Then, once you are back at home, make ice-cream Sundays just like Serendipity!

*Create something together. Go to a craft store and pick a new project or go to a pottery painting shop! Making something together is a fun, easy, and cheap way to bring you closer.

*Iron chef challenge! Use the endless left overs from the holidays to create something new for each other.

*Have a favorite movie trilogy? Use the holiday to watch them all! Snuggle up on the couch with your partner and favorite snacks and enjoy!

*Ice-skating! It may seem cliché, but falling all over the ice with each other will only make the experience more laughable.

*Take the decorations down together. It is always tough trying to get out of the holiday swing, but taking down the tree and decoration is always the first step. Use that time to reconnect, evaluate, and reflect on what you are both thankful for.

              *Give back, as much fun as it is to receive, it is even more fun to give back! Get a group of couples together from your church or neighborhood       and give back to the community.



By Dr. Jendayo K. Grady (@askdrgrady)

The Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season has been found by psychologists to be one of the most depressing times of year for a great number of people.  One of the reasons is that many people who are not in a marriage or a committed relationship feel the intensification of their loneliness.  A common result is the deep longing to be in a relationship.  While the longing can be very healthy, often times people make critical mistakes while trying to secure that special someone.  Mistakes are a common part of life, especially in romantic relationships.  The question is not whether there will be mistakes; rather, a more accurate question is how many mistakes will me made.  Even though mistakes are inevitable in relationships, it is still wise to attempt to prevent them and to learn from the mistakes already made.  In my over fifteen years of providing counseling/therapy and coaching I have found that certain relationship mistakes keep recurring in the lives of women no matter the age, socio-economic status, race, or religion. 

The top seven mistakes are listed below.                                         

1)   Look for a man to complete them, rather than complement them.  We are only complete in Christ.  If you are insecure alone, you still be more insecure when in relationship.

2)   Look for seeds (potential) rather than fruit (observable or tangible aspects of character, etc.) The fruit of love, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, etc. may not be fully ripe; however, there should be some tangible evidence of their existence.  Every man has potential.

3)   Give away the pleasure – without the promise or process – of a committed relationship.  Healthy courting involves the potential groom pursuing his potential bride.  The rewards for the labor and patience in pursuit are the prizes attached to his new bride.  If he can get the prizes without the labor, pursuit, and commitment, there is no logical reason to pursue and commit.

4)   Don’t resolve issues with their father.  A great part of a woman’s insecurity and lack of value is directly derived from unresolved issues with her father.  The resolution of these issues is a prerequisite of a healthy relationship.  It is wise to address these issues before marriage.

5)   Aggressively go after men.  Men, as a general rule, go after what they want.  Hence, it is wise to wait for the right man to pursue you; not the other way around.  Yes, times have changed and the world is less traditional.  However, if you know your value and worth, you should not have to chase anyone.  

6)   Fail to properly prepare for a healthy relationship.  To become a physician, one has to invest over 12 years of education and countless hours of studying.  To become a wife, all a woman has to do is say, “I do.”  It is wise to prepare for healthy relationships.  Part of the preparation includes pruning away people and practices that will stifle the vitality of the relationship.

7)   Act desperately in light of “statistics” about the shortage of eligible men.  Many women feel that eligible men are an endangered species.  The statistics paint the picture, especially in African American communities, that there is a great shortage of eligible men.  What the statistics fail to illuminate is that one woman only needs one man.  If the right, eligible man has not pursued you, then wait without compromising your standards.

Ladies, if you have already made some of the aforementioned mistakes, then learn from them.  If not, then make sure you are not part of the growing list of women who are presently make these mistakes.  If a man does not have the right character and commitment to compliment you, then he is not the one for you.  While you are waiting for the right man, prepare yourself through counseling and coaching to be the best wife you can be. 

4 Relationship Killers!          

During this holiday season, we are often trying to improve our relationship with our significant other, partner, fiancé or spouse. However, there are specific relationship killers that breakdown the relationship rather than restore it.  Below are 4 relationship killers you should be sure to avoid:

1. The act of disengagement! We can slowly begin to disengage from the relationship. You may notice that your loved one has:  stopped calling as much, is less interested in what you are doing in your day to day activities, does not touch you as much, does not have many nice things to say, and does not share their feelings or ask about yours. Disengagement slowly poisons the relationship. Resist it by staying connected to your loved one, even when every fiber in your body wants to pull away! “And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.” 1 Samuel 20:17

2. Harsh Words. We really need to think before we speak. Harsh words can cut our loved one down to the heart. When in a committed relationship, we have become vulnerable to each other. Knowing that the other person has opened up to us, we should be thoughtful of what we say. Never call your spouse names, Never put him or her down, Never talk about him or her negatively to your friends and family, Never curse at them, Never use past secrets shared with you to hurt your spouse. Speak kindness, speak the truth, and speak love. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

3. Sarcasm and The “Wrong Tone”. Sarcasm and speaking in the wrong tone of voice can shut down communication in your relationship. How can one feel safe to share with you all of his or her feelings if you ridicule, laugh, make snide comments, or never take him or her seriously? Watch your tone! You may say something amazingly wise or insightful; however your spouse will never hear it because your tone is rude, sarcastic or dismissive! “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

4. Holding Back Love and Affection. We need love in our relationships! Show your loved one love by telling him or her how much you care, tell him or her things you find special. Touch your spouse’s hair, arm, hand, leg, and/or back when talking or passing by. Smile!!!!! Do not frown all the time. Show enthusiasm when he or she gets home or walks in the room. Seem excited when he or she talks to you. “Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

Resist the 4 relationship killers during the Holiday Season and choose to love your spouse with the love that God demonstrates to us!

Written by Carisa Oyebanjo, LCPC, NCC 


Baby, It’s the Holidays, But I Need Some Time ~ 

The holiday season is often times a very hectic season.  I’m not too sure why.  Oh wait! I know. We’re trying to figure out gift for all of our family and friends, figuring out sales in store and online.  It also turns out to be about spending time with family.  Wait. I said spending time with family, right? Is not my wife my family now? Why is it so hard to spend time with her, but easier to spend time with ‘family’? I truly believe it comes down to perspective and priority.

My wife is from the Bronx, New York and I am from the suburbs of Atlanta.  We usually travel to each city during either Thanksgiving or Christmas.  As I write this I notice that it’s very easy to give to each family as a whole, going to their homes, eating tons of fried turkey and pecan pies, and then lay on the coach rubbing our fat bellies as we reminisce and relax.  And nothing is wrong with that. Yet, I want to be able to make the same memorable times with my wife as much as I want to have those memorable times with everyone else.  Besides, I have to go home with her. Why not continue that investment.

So here are ideas to maximize time with your spouse. Take your wife out on a Starbucks date to talk about the gifts to buy. I know you’re thinking that this is not a real date. Look at it from a different perspective. A date is simply invested time. Time at a holiday decorated Starbucks, enjoying a nice holiday grande soy gingerbread latte with little foam and light cream, topped off with a wonderfully iced pumpkin scone, talking at a small table sitting across from each other…is time together...talking. The entire conversation isn’t about gift buying. It can turn into anything.  In addition, the two of you will be so unified. You will both walk out smelling like a coffee shop!

BUT WAIT!!!!! I have small children, and don’t have the resources to get a babysitter for that time. Or what if I want to do this spontaneously? That may take a bit more planning. If you’re with family, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind a couple of hours with the kids.  If a teen is there, I’m sure a couple of extra dollars will be an incentive.

Another sure way of spending time together with your spouse is in bed...TALKING. Retire early from the family. You can create a specific subject or simply let it roll as it may. If you’re not a conversationalist (is that a word?), have two to three questions ready to discuss.  There are some great apps for conversation starters.  I have on my iPhone ‘Questions for Couples’, Kahnoodle, and The Love Dare-Day by Day.

Finally, I would suggest being like the Romans. Go shopping…together.  No it’s not fully romantic (well, maybe not for me), but it’s time together.  I know guys, you’re looking at 9 different options of a 12-speed black blender with a heating unit.  It’s okay.

These are just my thoughts. I have to do the same thing, so as I point a finger at you, three are pointing back at me. Off to the mall we go…


Written by L. Dijon Anderson