7 Bedroom Behaviors That Could Be Killing Your Marriage

The time you spend with your spouse right before you drift off to sleep is arguably the most important interaction you’ll have all day. Below, relationship experts share seven bedtime mistakes couples often make — and how to get back on track. 

1. Going to bed at different times. 

Sorry, night owl/early bird couples: Differing sleep schedules may seem like no big thing, but it’s more harmful than you realize, said Marcia Naomi Berger, a psychotherapist and author of Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted.  

“It’s a recipe for feeling lonely and emotionally (and physically) detached from each other,” she said. “One of the best things about being a couple is the warm, fuzzy time you share right before drifting off to sleep — why why would anyone want to sacrifice that?”

If you’re going to bed at separate times, there may be more to it than meets the eye, said Berger. “A conflict or grudge might exist that you need to talk about earlier in the day.” 

2. Being inconsiderate of your spouse’s schedule. 

If your late night TV or texting habits are getting in the way of your spouse’s rest, it may be time to move the flatscreen or smartphone out of the bedroom, said Becky Whetstone, a marriage and family therapist based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Whetstone called on a real life example to illustrate her point.

“One husband I counseled was a physician and had to be at the hospital by 6 a.m. every week day. He pleaded with his wife, a stay-at-home mom, to not watch TV when he was trying to get a good night’s sleep but she wanted to keep it on all night as background noise,” Whetstone recalled. “Despite every effort ­– like suggesting she get headphones or he get earplugs and blinders for his eyes — nothing brought him peace and she would not budge. A few years later, they divorced.” 

3. Saying nothing — or very little — to each other before bed.

After a long day of work and looking after the kids, who can blame you for wanting to jump into bed and call it a night? Still, it’s worth trying to carve out some time to emotionally reconnect with your spouse.

“Take the time to talk about the highlights and low points of your day,” said LiYana Silver, a San Francisco-based relationship coach. “There’s no need to offer advice or therapy to each other – just keep it to a short share.” 

4. Prioritizing screen time over quality time with your spouse. 

Do yourself a favor and escort your smartphone out of the room before you head to bed. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and texts should always take a backseat to your spouse, but especially before bed, Berger said. 

“Taking a tablet or phone to bed with you harms your relationship in two ways: First, it isolates you emotionally from each other,” she said. “Secondly, when we’re on electronic device shortly before sleep, the stimulation from the screen tends to keep you awake. With insufficient sleep, we’re likely to be less patient, kind and tolerant toward our partner the next day.”

5. Self-grooming in bed.

Save the grooming regimen for the bathroom. As Whetstone has heard from clients, nothing kills romance quite like an errant toenail flicking you in the face. 

“A wife I worked with was disgusted with her husband’s tendency for grooming his nails in bed,” Whetstone recalled. “She’d say, ‘I hear a click or crack and every now and then a piece of toe or fingernail hits me in the face or flies across the room and bounces off the wall!’ Even when the nails didn’t hit her, she felt like he didn’t care at all about what she thought of him.” 

6. Putting physical intimacy on the back burner.

Starting to feel more like roommates than spouses? If one of you is avoiding coming to bed or is seemingly disinterested in sex, talk through your issues before you hit the sheets, said Whetstone. 

“When it comes to sex, quite a few clients have told me they suspect that their spouse won’t come to bed at the same time they do because they want to avoid sex — and quite a few don’t deny that,” she said. “I always say, ‘Wouldn’t it just be easier to talk about it rather than hide out in another room and tip toe to bed once you know they’re in a deep sleep?'” 

7. Going to bed angry. 

You shouldn’t abruptly end an argument just because it’s late and you’re both tired. But allowing unresolved conflicts or misunderstandings to fester time and time again isn’t good for your marriage, either.

“There is a good reason for the saying, ‘Don’t go to bed angry,'” said Berger. “Instead, do your best to clear up issues well before bed time, so when you’re ready to turn in for the night you’ll both want to communicate lovingly, in words, tone and actions.” 

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New York State Program Uses Text Messages To Teach English As A Second Language

NEW YORK (AP) — Candelaria Lopez had tried to learn English before, but it didn’t work. She couldn’t always make it to class, and when she could, it was hard to find the energy to sit through a three-hour session after her long days as a farmworker in the Hudson Valley region. So even after 20 years in the United States, the Mexican immigrant was still pretty much comfortable only saying “Hi.”

Not these days, though, thanks to a unique pilot English language learning program offered by New York state that works through phone calls and text messages. The 38-year-old mother of four said she has had a whole new world open up for her in recent months — new responsibilities at work, talking to her daughter’s teacher without needing a translator, even helping another Spanish-speaking family find an apartment to rent.

“For me, it’s happy,” she said. “For me, it’s exciting.”

New York state launched the pilot through its Office for New Americans earlier this year. The premise is simple — those who have signed up call a number whenever they want to hear recorded lessons. They are then asked questions they answer via text messages to show they’ve understood what’s being taught. Get the questions right, move on to the next unit. Answer incorrectly, and a coach will call to help clarify the concept.

It’s low-tech enough — no apps, no need for fancy smartphones. Anyone with even the most basic phone can access it and it’s flexible enough that users can go at whatever speed they’re comfortable with. It’s free, aside from whatever their phone plans would charge for cellphone minutes or sending and receiving texts.

“We really wanted to make this as accessible as possible,” said Jorge Montalvo, who oversees the Office for New Americans as deputy Secretary of State for Economic Opportunity. The goal for anyone who makes it through the entire program would be to get to the point where “you’ll be doing well enough to pass the English requirement for the naturalization exam, that’s the level we’re looking at.”

In this initial program, about 300 people signed up in three parts of the state — the Hudson Valley, the New York City area and the Finger Lakes/North Country region. Montalvo said the state would see how it was going after about a year to figure out any plans for expansion.

New York is the first state to fund a cellphone language learning program for immigrant populations, said Jessica Rothenberg-Aalami, CEO of Cell-Ed, the company providing the lessons.

The San Francisco Bay Area company has been in business about two years, and Rothenberg-Aalami said it was trying to fill a need for adult education that worked in the modern world.

The “demand is definitely not being met with classroom-based adult education today,” she said.

The flexibility was key for Lopez, who didn’t have to find child care for her daughters or set aside time for a formal class. “This is only my phone,” she said. “It’s very easy, maybe I cook and I put on the class.”

Rothenberg-Aalami said it took an average of about 25 hours to finish a level of classes; New York is offering Level I and Level II classes, as well as a citizenship class. The instruction starts out mostly in Spanish, shifting to more English as it gets more advanced.

By Level IV, the lessons are conversational English, she said. But even by the end of Level II, users are able to navigate in English much more confidently than they were before, she said.

“What we provide is a bridge to a lot of other resources that are unavailable to those who are missing the first and second rung of the education ladder,” she said.

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The ‘Acts Of Terrorism’ Planned Parenthood Staff Have Come To Expect

A violent attack on Planned Parenthood is a terrorist attack — and two women on Twitter are explaining why. 

Last night former Planned Parenthood employee Bryn Greenwood tweeted what she described as acts of terrorism that she experienced during the three years she worked at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Kansas. Greenwood recounted multiple instances when anti-abortion activists violently attacked the clinic, including times when extremists planted cherry bombs on the clinic’s front door and poured gasoline under the doors before lighting it. 

Greenwood told The Huffington Post that she worked at the Wichita clinic from 1996 to the beginning of 2000. She also volunteered at the clinic throughout the 90s, during which time she worked with Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider who was shot and killed by an anti-abortion extremist in 2009 at his church in Kansas. 

I worked at a #PlannedParenthood clinic in Kansas for 3 years. My coworkers & I were subjected to the following acts of terrorism:

— Bryn Greenwood (@bryngreenwood) November 30, 2015

Gasoline was poured under our back door & ignited 4 times. Twice while the clinic was occupied, causing patients to be evacuated.

— Bryn Greenwood (@bryngreenwood) November 30, 2015

Butyric acid (used as a stink bomb) was poured under our doors & into ventilation system so many times I lost count. Clinic evacuated.

— Bryn Greenwood (@bryngreenwood) November 30, 2015

2 cherry bombs were left on our doorstep after hours, causing damage & clinic closure. Imagine what it's like going to work after that.

— Bryn Greenwood (@bryngreenwood) November 30, 2015

We received hundreds of phone calls, threatening to torch our clinic & to kill the "murdering whores" who worked there.

— Bryn Greenwood (@bryngreenwood) November 30, 2015

3 times someone drove by at night & shot out our windows. Picketers stood on the sidewalk & harassed employees as we swept up broken glass.

— Bryn Greenwood (@bryngreenwood) November 30, 2015

Greenwood told HuffPost she tweeted her experience not to scare women, but to make it known what Planned Parenthood employees and patients often go through. ”I absolutely don’t want my experiences to serve as a source of fear for potential patients, because I know Planned Parenthood works constantly to improve security for its patients and employees,” she said. 

That said, I feel it’s important to speak out about these things so that they can be acknowledged as part of a larger pattern of intimidation,” Greenwood continued. “In the ’90s, these incidents were often dismissed as ‘vandalism,’ but they are ongoing and they’re being fueled by extremist rhetoric.”

Greenwood’s testimony is more poignant than ever after a gunman opened fired at a Colorado Springs’ Planned Parenthood clinic this past Friday, killing three and wounding nine.   

Michelle Kinsey Bruns, a feminist activist and organizer who uses the Twitter handle @ClinicEscort, used Twitter as a platform to speak out about anti-abortion violence and how frequent it’s become. Using the hashtag #Is100Enough, Bruns tweeted 100 news stories of anti-abortion violence over the past five decades to highlight the urgency of the issue. 

My hashtag is also my question: If 100 examples won't convince you that antichoice violence is real, how many do you need? #is100enough

— ClinicEscort (@ClinicEscort) November 29, 2015

2/1977: Someone enters Cleveland's Concerned Women Clinic, throws gas on a receptionist, & sets a fire. https://t.co/MOF4Jc0Y7K #is100enough

— ClinicEscort (@ClinicEscort) November 29, 2015

8/12/82: Hope Clinic owner & wife kidnapped & held 8 days, w/a "ransom" demand that Reagan end abortion https://t.co/EAQmZmdKWA #is100enough

— ClinicEscort (@ClinicEscort) November 29, 2015

10/23/98:Dr Barnett Slepian killed at home by sniper James Kopp, suspected in 4 similar attacks on docs https://t.co/jYIDm9vVfg #is100enough

— ClinicEscort (@ClinicEscort) November 29, 2015

10/21/15: Vandal attacks Claremont, NH Planned Parenthood clinic with a hatchet https://t.co/jAsMrax7qO #is100enough

— ClinicEscort (@ClinicEscort) November 29, 2015

All 100 of Bruns’ examples have been compiled on Storify, viewable in the slideshow below.

#is100enough in convenient Storify form: https://t.co/NRUjzm4Iv8 40 years of antichoice violence, threats, near-misses, and incitements

— ClinicEscort (@ClinicEscort) November 29, 2015

Greenwood added in her series of tweets that the goal of the types of attacks she experienced and the ones listed by Bruns is to quite literally terrorize Planned Parenthood employees and patients.

The goal was to make us afraid to come to work, to make us quit, to make us close the clinic,” she wrote. “That’s terrorism. That’s how terrorism works.”

Our clinic didn't perform abortions. We did well woman exams, pregnancy tests, dispensed birth control, & treated STIs.

— Bryn Greenwood (@bryngreenwood) November 30, 2015

Our clinic offered free & low cost services in a low income neighborhood, but every day the "pro-life" movement tried to frighten us.

— Bryn Greenwood (@bryngreenwood) November 30, 2015

The goal was to make us afraid to come to work, to make us quit, to make us close the clinic. That's terrorism. That's how terrorism works.

— Bryn Greenwood (@bryngreenwood) November 30, 2015

Anyone who approves of harassing clinics is giving support to terrorism. #StandWithPP

— Bryn Greenwood (@bryngreenwood) November 30, 2015

Throughout the ’90s, Greenwood said she volunteered with Dr. George Tiller, the medical director of Women’s Health Care Services at the Wichita clinic who was frequently targeted by anti-abortion activists.

In 1986, the Wichita clinic was firebombed by anti-abortion extremists and in 1993 Dr. Tiller was shot in both arms by an another extremist. “Dr. Tiller kept coming to work after he was shot, because he was a caring man who knew how important his work was,” Greenwood tweeted. “He was later shot and killed by an anti-abortion extremist in 2009.” 

This week, the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood refused to be intimidated by violence. As Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards tweeted after the shooting: “These doors stay open.” 

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How Charlie Sheen Helped Reignite This AIDS Activist’s Passion

For decades, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph of Broadway’s “Dreamgirls” and TV’s “Moesha” and “Ray Donovan” has worked tirelessly as an activist for HIV/AIDS research through her nonprofit, Divinely Inspired Victoriously Aware (D.I.V.A.) Foundation.

Now, 25 years after the launch of her foundation, Ralph told The Huffington Post that she’s felt a renewed sense of purpose in raising awareness for HIV/AIDS thanks, in part, to Charlie Sheen’s revelation that he was HIV-positive on the “Today” show. Ralph noted that she hopes Sheen’s public admission will help the black community pay better attention to the disease.

“No matter how you may feel about Charlie Sheen, I say, ‘Thank God for Charlie Sheen’ cause he came out with his own reality no matter what you might feel about his reality, but I never had so many people wanting to talk about HIV in years, and I mean in years,” she said. “I would love to be able to get more access on black radio to talk about HIV and testing, but you try to reach out to some folks and their shows and they don’t wanna talk about it.”

To commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1, the actress has partnered with OraQuick in-home HIV testing to distribute 10,000 test kits across the South and to some historically black colleges and university campuses.

“My goal for this next year is to get people to understand that testing is powerful,” she said. “Testing saves your life, and ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance can cost you your life. STDs are on the rise and the best way you can commemorate World AIDS Day is to get tested, especially if you’re a sexually active person or thinking about being a sexually active person. Get tested. Know your status.”

For more info on World AIDS Day, including HIV testing sites and other service locations, click here.

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What Latinas Really Think Of The #Latina Hashtag

These women don’t have time for lack of diversity when it comes to representation of Latinas.

In a video from BuzzFeed Yellow, Latinas took a deep dive into the #Latina hashtag on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. The results included posts about Dora the Explorer and Sofia Vergara — along with “a gallery of butts and boobs.” After some hilarious commentary about the hashtag, one woman echoed the stereotype-shattering idea behind the #LatinasAreNot hashtag and expressed the need to show more than “one really kind of narrow view” of Latinas.

Another woman pointed out how easy it is to spot ”accounts from outsiders,” thanks to their inability to accurately reflect the Latina community. ”You can tell because they do not represent everyone,” she said.

Latinas are not one-dimensional, and don’t you forget it.

H/T BuzzFeed

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Court Ruling Pushes Immigrant Families Back Into Shadows

Deportation — a word that so many aspiring Americans fear. A recent court decision dealt a disappointing blow to nearly 5 million immigrant youth and parents who are seeking relief from deportation. Including up to half a million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, this ruling continues to block President Obama’s expanded immigration-related executive actions and highlights the drastic state of our broken system. The ruling is also a clarion call for renewed vigor in our fight to attain stability and security for hard-working immigrant families who call America home.  

In November 2014, President Obama expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, providing deportation relief for additional immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. A new program, Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), would have provided the same deportation relief to certain parents of U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident children.

Earlier this year, a federal district court halted these programs after they were challenged by a lawsuit from Texas and 25 other states. When the U.S. government called on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to implement the programs, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum joined more than 150 other organizations in support of the administration’s actions.

The recent court ruling underscores how unjustly millions of lives are being held in limbo. Those who care about equity for these communities are called to act to ensure that hard-working, tax-paying families striving to build better lives for themselves are not left behind in ways that are so vital to their livelihoods. In the health equity community, we see the stark disparities that immigration status has on access to quality, affordable health care.

Access to such care improves not only individual lives, but also the well being of entire communities. Yet many of the individuals currently eligible for deferred action are excluded from coverage from the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. An archaic five-year bar on coverage also blocks lawfully present immigrants from public health programs for five years after they get their green cards.

We know all too well as health care advocates that lives are at stake and that there are solutions that we can work on together now to advance health equity.

In the current Congress, the Health Equity and Access Under the Law (HEAL) for Immigration Women and Families Act of 2015 has been introduced by Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico. The HEAL Act would remove political interference and restore coverage under public health programs to lawfully present immigrants who are otherwise eligible eliminating the five-year bar. It would restore access to public and affordable health care coverage for persons granted deferred action, and Medicaid eligibility for migrants from the Compact of Free Association (COFA) jurisdictions — the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia — who, despite being free to work and live in the U.S. without restriction, have been ineligible for coverage under federal law since 1996.
 
In each of the past several Congressional sessions, these measures have also been put forth in the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA). The HEAA, introduced by the Congressional Tri-Caucus (made up of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus), is a comprehensive bill to eliminate health disparities and improves access to care for the nation’s diverse and underserved communities.
 
Now is the time to push these measures to the finish line and help bring some security to many whose lives continue to remain in the balance. The Obama Administration plans to ask the Supreme Court to review the decision on the deferred action programs. 

This move cannot come quickly enough. While the case is tied up in the courts, we must continue the fight for equity for immigrant families on all fronts. The health and prosperity of our country depends on it.  

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