The War Between Men & Women: Guest Post at Verily

In case you missed it, this week I guest posted over at Verily Magazine, a fabulous new venture that is written by young women, for young women.

Here's a teaser of what I said on the Battle of the Sexes:

As the song from Annie Get Your Gun says, “Anything you can do, I can do better.”

Personally, I’ve found that a little competition can be healthy; it drives me to push further, try harder and endure longer. But if I take my competitive spirit to an extreme, especially in a relationship, it can be grating, hurtful and exhausting; if I’m not careful, I can cause distance between those closest to me. Although I want to be a strong, successful woman, I’ve learned that I need to reevaluate what that really means for me.


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3 Tips to Instantly Improve Relationships

There are some great articles out this week that I highly recommend checking out.

Over at Verily Magazine, Kara Eschbach and Monica Gabriel respond to an article in The Atlantic that touted “Boys on the Side,” as a good strategy for women seeking to pursue career first, love second. Sheila GregoireCourtneyJennifer, and Darlene Schacht have collectively focused this week on helping women revamp their marriages by speaking words of praise towards their husbands.

What does this have to do with us who are young adults, many who are single and not yet married?

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Jane Austen on Hooking-up

I was watching Pride and Prejudice this past weekend, which I do every time my husband goes out of town. It has to be the BBC 8 hour version with Colin Firth. If you’re a real fan, you’ll understand. You simply cannot scrimp on Jane Austen’s dialogue or on Mr. Firth. But I digress.

Aside from the intrigue, the scandals, the depth of characters, and the biting wit delivered in refined prose, Austen has an ability to talk about sex, relationships and the male/female dynamic in a manner that is timeless. Take this little gem for instance:

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Parents, Why You Need to Talk About Sex.

A couple of weeks ago I had a guest post on RooMag.com urging parents to add “Sex Talks with my Teen” to their Back-To-School List. It was a real hit. All of zero people commented on the post.

Perhaps it was a bit premature. Here I am urging parents to talk about this with their kids without addressing one of the underlying questions: “Why?”

Why as parents do you need to have these talks with your children? Yes, plural, not singular. This is not a one time monologue to be delivered with sock puppets and catchy slogans like, “Just say no!” It is an ongoing conversation that begins when they’re young and ends when…they get married.

You’re going to be doing this a lot. Sometimes it will go great, and other times you will be left wondering why in the world you said what you did.

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What Habits Are You Forming?

It’s unatural, restricting and goes against our natural instincts, which is why people get restless in marriage,” argued my friend as we sat discussing relationships and sexual fidelity. My line of work has a tendency to bring up these sort of conversations.

He’s not alone in thinking that. It’s a line of thought that gets used to rationalize a myriad of behavior in marriages, such as the one I addressed here .

But this looks at divorce only as the sum of the marriage experience and nothing before.

Newsflash: When the city records office hands you your marriage license, it doesn’t come with a giant reset button for all your habits, attitudes and expectations about relationships.

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Hope Springs: 3 Important Truths for Marriage

When my husband and I went to see Hope Springs, we were the youngest in the theater by at least 20 years. Clearly, we were not the target demographic.

The movie centers around Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arthur (Tommy Lee Jones), a couple who have just celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary. Theirs is a painfully hollow relationship where the passion is as dried up as a mummy, with husband and wife sleeping in separate rooms. 

While this may be a movie geared towards our parents, there are 3 Important Truths to be gleaned for our own marriages, whether just starting out or yet to begin.

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Parents, Do You Have This on Your Check List?

Today I have a guest post over at RooMag.com for parents of teens and pre-teens entitled “Do You Have This on Your Check List?”

If you don’t have kids yet, consider this your chance to get a jump-start on being awesome parents. At least when it comes to handling this normally awkward topic. You’re on your own for everything else.


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The Most Unromantic Proposal

I was watching The Newsroom season finale this week and …

Spoiler Alert!: Only a small one but if you plan to watch the finale, skip to the (*) asterisk down the page.

There’s a moment when one of the characters, Don, invites his on-again, off-again girlfriend Maggie into his apartment. The lights are off, the living room is glowing with candles and Don pulls out a box. At this point, any girl watching this scene with the sound off would have immediately thought, “Oh, he’s going to propose!”

Which he did. Except instead of a diamond ring as a symbol of his love and devotion, Don offers Maggie a key to his apartment.

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Do You Know How to Live with Imperfect?

I’m married to the most amazing man. Really. He has the patience of Job, the integrity of Abraham Lincoln and the looks of a rugged cowboy, all with fiery red hair. And he loves me something crazy.

But my husband is not perfect. And neither am I.

Shocking, I know. Being married nearly two years made that glaringly apparent to me.

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Key to a Successful Marriage...an Affair?

This last week The Huffington Post ran a brief article on an upcoming book by social scientist Catherine Hakim. In it she suggests that having extramarital affairs might actually make for a better relationship. I have not yet read the book, but I did read the excerpt printed in The Telegraph. While we may view this position as extreme, I would argue that the assumptions upon which it is based (at least from what I read in the excerpt) are what I see subtly permeating our culture, our conversations and the attitudes of many my age (20–30 year olds). 

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3 Tips for Dating in this Digital World

Most of us have grown up never knowing life without internet, cell-phones and email. Yet the frenzy of living in this 24/7 digital world has left many of us relationally exhausted, yearning for a simpler way. Even my most plugged-in, wired friends call to complain that it’s just too difficult to know what to do. More options have only made it more complicated, blurring the dating guidelines.

Now, when you’re interested in someone, you Google their history, comb through their Facebook pictures for past girlfriends/boyfriends, and follow them on Twitter for the play-by-play of their life.

Or maybe that was just me.

The Problem: All of those digital mediums tell you about that person but they don’t help you know them.

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Are You The Hero In Your Own Story?

Have you read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller? My interest was piqued after reading this hilarious post by Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary, where she describes her time at Miller’s Storyline Conference. This book focuses on the deceptively simple, yet profound, question: What kind of story are you living? One line in particular jumped out at me. So much so that I had to grab a pen and underline it right then.

“No girl who plays the role of a hero dates a guy who uses her. She knows who she is."
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Boundaries: Creating a Game Plan

In my last article, we came up with the WHY behind our relationship boundaries, discussing how the WHY gives purpose, lays the foundation, and keeps us committed to the boundaries each of us sets for ourselves.

Today, we’re discussing the HOW.

Building healthy, effective boundaries begins with envisioning where you want these relationships to go and what you’d like them to become. As Stephen Covey, author of the best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, so wisely says, “begin with the end in mind.”

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Boundaries: The WHY Underneath

Boundaries. They sound about as exciting as putting on a straight jacket. Unless you understand the WHY behind them, boundaries seem restrictive, rather than empowering. WHY gives them purpose, lays the foundation for you to build upon, and is what will keep you committed when it’s hard, painful, and you’re ready to throw in the towel.

You have to own this “why,” believe it is the core of who you are, and decide it is worth it for YOU. It is your WHY that you will keep coming back to as your relationships change, as you grow, and as seasons come and go.

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Boundaries: Ft. Knox Or Thin Ropes

Barrier. Border. Extent. Limit. Line. Edge. Boundary. We all have them in our lives. It’s how much you will put up with before you reach your limit. The extent to which you will go for a friend. The edge of your personal bubble. The line that no one should cross if they don’t want to cross you. The boundary between what is acceptable and what is unsafe, abusive, intrusive, offensive, annoying, or insensitive. Boundaries in relationships help us stay balanced and regulate how much and how fast we share. They also keep us from allowing someone to take advantage of our generosity, our time, and our love.

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Welcome

Welcome! I’m thrilled that you’ve stopped by and invite you to explore, get to know me and when you’re ready, to add your own voice to the conversation.

I post here a couple times a week, usually on topics related to relationships, marriage and sex. Now and again, it may be on something completely unrelated but hopefully just as interesting.

Be sure to sign up with your email or via RSS feed so as not to miss any new posts!

You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook. I love getting emails as well, so please don’t hesitate to write me with questions or comments.

If you’re interested in having me come speak at your event, head over to Speaking to check my availability.

In the words of Mr. Humphrey Bogart, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Cheers,

Joanna Hyatt