Do you regularly cheat yourself out of a few hours of sleep just to prove to your friends, family and co-workers that you're an early-bird-getting-the-worm kind of person? Aside from the questionable nutritional benefits of those night crawlers, the Chicago Tribune reports that you may be increasing your risk of developing early diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders.
A study conducted by the University of Chicago suggests that even an average of eight hours of sleep a night—the long-standing recommendation—may not be enough. The study recommends between nine and nine-and-one-half hours as optimal. Good night.
Boxers or Briefs?
The thinking used to go that if a woman is trying to get pregnant, her husband should slip into boxers because briefs were thought to retain sperm-harming heat. Well, banish that thought and unpack those tidy whities, says Self magazine. Researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook found that scrotal temperatures for brief-wearing men were so similar to those of their boxer-loving buddies that the choice of undergarments really doesn't matter.
Multiple Choice Romance
Dying for a romantic outing, but tired of being the one who takes the initiative and makes the decisions? The Romantic newsletter suggests sending your mate an invitation for a date. However, instead of outlining the specifics, make your indecisive spouse chart the course by giving him or her multiple selections to choose from. Here's a sample:
Let's go out on:
- Friday night
- Saturday afternoon
- Saturday night
- Sunday afternoon
- Dinner and dancing at Alfredo's
- Lunch at the Bagel Hut
- A movie followed by dessert at the Copper Kettle
- Picnic lunch and a walk
Of course, you should create your own list. Feel free to make it as long or detailed as you like.
of newlywed men
say they fell in love at first sight
of newlywed women
say they did
Source: USA Today
The Nose Still Knows
Having trouble remembering whether your mother-in-law's birthday is coming up next Tuesday or snuck past you last week? The reason you struggle with annoying memory lapses may be as plain as the nose on your face. Or so says William Cone, Ph.D., author of Stop Memory Loss (Matteson Books).
To blow out the cobwebs, press one nostril closed with your finger. Then breathe eight times through the open nostril. If nothing happens, plug the other nostril and breathe eight times. Cone says changing your nasal breathing cycle can switch your brain's rhythms. When the left nostril is open, the right hemisphere is working hardest, and vice versa. The two sides store different information, so when you wake up the previously at-rest side of the brain, you may remember that your mother-in-law's birthday was actually last month.
Source: Men's Health
Happy Birthday, BABY!
When blowing out birthday candles …
Percentage of women who wish for more time with their husbands: 26
Percentage of husbands who wish for more time with their wives: 3
Source: Men's Health
You Said It!
"We not only love each other, we really like and respect each other. [My husband] has a delicious sense of humor, and he appreciates mine. I think he's the best company in the world, and he thinks I am."
Advice columnist Abigail Van Buren ("Dear Abby")
"Some people are so determined to find blissful happiness that they overlook a lifetime of contentment."
Joey O'Connor, conference speaker
between the covers
The Money Guy
Scott Kays, financial planner and ordained minister, wasn't happy with the financial-advice books on the market. So he decided to write his own. What he ended up with was a comprehensive book on gaining control of finances through "practical, step-by-step instructions that are rooted in Scripture."
In Achieving Your Financial Potential (Doubleday), Kays covers the waterfront. But we asked him to zero in on setting up, and sticking to, a family budget.
How should a couple go about setting up a budget?
Anybody can establish a budget. It's just a matter of self-discipline—making the decision that you want to do this. But couples have to be realistic in writing down their current expenditures and how much they think they're going to be spending in the future.
Are a lot of couples unrealistic when it comes to a plan for a budget?
Yeah. They don't want to admit they have the problems that they have. Many people really like spending more money than they make. So if they can convince themselves they're really not spending more, they'll do it.
Is that the biggest mistake people make?
Actually, a lot of people budget everything out to the max, and then if anything unexpected happens there's nothing left. You need to build some slack into your budget—a slush fund. It may be a few percentage points of your total budget that you set aside to cover the unexpected things.
What are some pitfalls to watch out for?
What kills people's financial planning is that they do it for six months and then abandon it. The people who succeed at budgeting are those who ten years from now are still working with their plans.
Interviewed by Caryn D. Rivadeneira
In Love and In Sync
Think wallpapering the kitchen with your spouse will send your blood pressure sky high? Think again. According to Cooking Light magazine, men and women who work— nicely—with their spouses on projects at home have lower blood pressure than couples who cooperate less.
Portrait of a Marriage
Artist Thomas Kinkade, whose books and paintings seem to be everywhere these days, likes marriage so much he's done it twice. Both times were to his wife, Nanette, but the first ceremony didn't count.
The couple met when Thomas, then a young newspaper delivery boy, popped a wheelie on his Stingray bicycle to impress Nanette. She later invited him to a junior high Sadie Hawkins dance, where they got hitched the first time.
"We were 'married' at 12 and 13," says Nanette of the school dance. "That was our first kiss."
The teens broke up when Thomas entered high school, but he still carried a torch for the "sweet," "honest" and "very attractive" girl he met on his paper route. A few years later, while away at college, he found out Nanette had broken up with her boyfriend. They started dating again and got married, officially this time, in 1982.
Today, Thomas's works of art are sold as limited-edition prints in thousands of galleries and are used on hundreds of other products—greeting cards, collector plates, jigsaw puzzles, calendars and books, including
A Child's Garden of Verses (Tommy Nelson). He sometimes paints a likeness of Nanette in scenes of people, and eagle-eyed art lovers can find the letter "N" hidden in Kinkade's works, often several times in the same painting.
Interviewed by Ron R. Lee
the married life
by Joanie Emery-Byrd
I'm no marriage counselor; I'm a manicurist. But I hear stories you wouldn't believe.
This one client (I'll call her Betsy) comes into my shop. She's all excited when she tells me how she and her boyfriend have reached a "milestone." Of course, I expect her to tell me they're getting engaged.
But she doesn't tell me, she makes me guess. So I practically shout: "You're getting engaged!" And, being supportive, I squeal and clap a little.
That's when a look of horror sweeps over her face. "No way!" she says. "We're not getting married. We're moving in together!" Then she squeals and claps, but alone this time.
Here's the thing: Betsy figures that by moving in together they get the "good stuff" of marriage, like sharing the rent and "coming home from parties together," without the "bad stuff," like the permanence.
I want to smack her hand with the nail file, like Sister Mary used to do with the ruler when we acted up. But of course I don't. I just tell her I think her plan is silly.
What she doesn't know is that the best part of being married is not the post-party drive home. Yes, it can be fun to laugh about your uncle's bad toupee or wonder what's the matter with your cousin's spastic cat. But what about all those times you're driving home and things aren't so rosy? Say, you're both tired. He's annoyed with a comment your sister made. He shares it with you. You're annoyed that he's being so hard on your sister. He doesn't think he's being judgmental and yada, yada, yada. Snippy comment here. Snide remark there. You finish the drive home in silence, unlock the front door, take off your jacket and go straight to bed after a mumbled "love you." He hums agreement and falls asleep on the sectional.
See, here's the point Betsy is missing. In a huff after coming home from a party, she'll be worrying, "Are we breaking up? Will he move out? And if so, who gets the sectional?"
So what I tell Betsy is that the good stuff of marriage is the permanence, the getting-another-chance of it all. The best thing is knowing that he'll wake up at three all confused because you're not next to him. And knowing that you'll forgive him for what he said about your sister and that he'll forgive you for your smart-alecky sarcasm. And knowing that in 20 years, you'll still be perfecting those rides home.
All Betsy will have to look forward to is regretting that she let her boyfriend take the sectional.
Copyright © 2000 by the author or Christianity Today/Marriage Partnership magazine. Click here for reprint information on Marriage Partnership.