Gift From My Husband

You know those times when you feel like you have been heard over the years and when it happens you get a warm fuzzy feeling inside?  Well if you get those often then wonderful!  I do not get them often in my relationship with my husband.  Not to say that I do not often feel heard.  It is just I am not normally the warm and fuzzy feeling kind of gal.  I have to really pay attention to find those warm and fuzzy moments.

I watch romantic movies and read soft romance books.  I do this to remind myself what romance looks like at some level.  I have to get tips, hints and ideas from mentors, books, movies to keep me in line with being a romantic wife.  For so many years I expected my husband to be romantic but I did not even really know what romance looked like.  What I thought was romantic when I was young ended up with some harsh memories from my short weeding to my ex-husband.  All my ideas of romance got kicked out the window.

I am so much better now at spotting romance and being romantic than I was for many years.  I do believe romance is important in marriage.  I mean who wants to sit in idle in marriage and have a feeling of stagnant energy in marriage?  Not me!  My husband posted on my Facebook page “The Top 10 Reasons I Love You”.  I have done this to him many times.  I have posted some of my reasons for loving him on this blog.  Here is my husbands top 10 for me.

The top 10 reasons that I love you:

1. Because you are a passionate person – You love deeply and fiercely.
2. You are a caring person – You often care more about others than they care about themselves.
3. You’re an AMAZING mother – You take the time necessary to learn all you can about raising children and to ensure that they always get treated best based on their own unique personality & needs.
4. Your sexy body!
5. WOW! You are such a good cook!
6. You’re a great wife – You take care of me and are incredibly tolerant of my quirks & annoying ways.
7. You have solid values – You’ve taken the time to hone your personal values and you hold to them rigorously.
8. You are intelligent – You love to learn and are always a student. You can solve complex problems in a way that best serves all parties and can manage a respectable amount of information inside of that small head of yours.
9. You are tolerant and peaceful – You enjoy harmony and bring peace wherever you go.
10. You are courageous – You are not afraid to try new things and challenge your own beliefs.

I mentioned earlier about the warm fuzzy feelings this caused.  You see it seems my husband has hit some very deep connections to why we are still married right here in this list.

He sees me through the tough exterior, the facade I put up to keep others from getting to close in my life.  He sees past the logic in me and hits right to my heart in how he sees me.  No one else in the world can see all of what he sees in me.  I did point out to him that I thought he might need to get his eyes checked on number six and yet he reassures me that he sees just fine.  I also pointed out to him that number ten is a little flawed in that I am afraid to try new things it is just that I will try anyway to continue to challenge who I think I am and what I think my limits are.

I have to give him credit for making this a public declaration and beyond that I want to acknowledge him for seeing past me and truly seeing into my heart.  Well played my dear!  This was the most inexpensive gift he presented me with, yet one of the most loving gifts he could ever offer to me.

What do you see deeply about your spouse?  Have you shared these with them?  What have you missed from being busy and not focusing on them?  Just some thoughts to get you to notice your spouses heart at a deeper level.

Marriage Confidence

What is your confidence level in marriage?

I want to address an issue around being confident in marriage.  In order to be truly confident in your marriage you must be confident in who you are.  I know that when I  was younger in my 20’s and early 30’s I will admit my self esteem and confidence in who I was had some issues at times.  After being divorced once I know my marriage confidence level had taken a pretty severe beating.

I found out that the more confidence I had in myself and my abilities in my life the more confidence I had in my marriage.  Why is this important?  I believe that when you lack confidence in your marriage you do not deal with the hard issues until they become so bad that you have to.  Or how about those really intimate conversations you want to have with your spouse but never sure when the right time is?  When you have confidence in your marriage you are willing to take the time to ask those questions without fear of judgment or shame.  You also communicate clearly on the important issues instead of sweeping them under the rug.

I know throughout the years I have struggled with some issues around confidence in talking to my husband about some important issues.  Money, bills, kids, sex as well as dreams and desires.  Some of the time my lack of confidence in certain issues created arguments and mental shut down.

I will admit that none of my children were ever planned!  At least not by me! I say God decided more than I did.  My oldest son was conceived the first time I had sex.  My second son came after a contraceptive failed.  Third son, I don’t even know what happened there and my daughter was discovered after I was three months pregnant after injuring my foot!  My husband and I never spoke about having kids when.  The only thing that we ever talked about was, we can’t have more kids because we just can not afford them.  “I want to make more money and get the business going strong before we have any more” is what he would say.  And wouldn’t you know it we still did not have the business going where we wanted it to be yet and another one was on the way!  I was always afraid to tell him I was pregnant.  Never once in my life have I experienced the joy of discovering that I was pregnant.  The joys came later but my confidence in my marriage was not where it needed to be.

Having conversations about money has always been an issue for me.  Since I grew up with my parents telling me “money doesn’t grow on trees”, “no you can’t have that”, “we can’t afford that” for a long time I had some major scarcity issues around money.  Even to this day it takes some tender loving care from my husband to talk to me about money.  It is not so much a scarcity issue anymore, it is more about a belief that is deeply ingrained in me that I choose to work on all the time.

Asking my husband for what I need in the relationship used to sound a little like nagging or whining.  Now we can sit down and have some pretty fabulous conversations about what we both need and want in the relationship.

The more you and your spouse talk about what is important in your life together the more confidence you build with each other.  If there is a subject that you are scared to talk about, start challenging yourself to be open about that topic.  Let your spouse know that this topic is difficult or emotional for you.  This is not a male/female thing by the way.  Men have just as much difficulty talking about important issues as women.  It just shows up differently!

Practice what you want to say ahead of time.  I used to write my husband letters because I could keep my emotion out of it and explain my feelings without the emotions getting in the way.

If you are having self esteem issues then work to build yourself up.  Find mentors and friends who remind you of what you want to be like.  Keep reminding yourself that you deserve a wonderful and confident marriage.  It will be up to you to build this confidence and learn to have fun with your conversations with your spouse.

Goals In Marriage – Why Bother

I am a goal master!  I set goals in all areas of my life.  I have all of my clients set goals when working with me.  This has become my way of life for many years.  It has gotten me from the welfare mom to the successful business owner that I am today.  With that being said, one area that is often forgotten when setting goals is in your marriage.  I believe it should be the first place to set the goals but I understand why it is not often put as a priority.  I mean come on, if the relationship is going well and all feels good then why would we need to set goals?  “Don’t fix what isn’t broken” kind of mindset with setting goals in marriage.

I don’t know about you but happily ever after has not shown up in this marriage.  I mean the challenges we have been through in our marriage have been so many that I sometimes think that there is no such thing as an easy marriage.  If there is, it didn’t find its way to my front porch!  With that being said I want to be clear that I am not complaining about my marriage.  I am just being honest about the fact that we have had a lot put onto our plates that we were not prepared for nor ever thought we needed to plan for.

I was a facilitator with a seminar company for many years. In that time, hundreds of people would set goals to have a better relationship with their spouse.  They would say “I want to have a number ten relationship with my spouse”.  What did that really mean?  When asked what that would look like for them, the attendees would often describe how they wanted the outcome to be at the end of a 10 week period of working on this goal.  Very rare if ever, did I hear anyone say they wanted to sit down and set goals with their spouse so they both could work on the goals together.  It was more about what I am going to do and hope she/he would see the difference.

What goals have you set with your spouse lately in regards to your relationship?

I want to be the first to tell you “Your marriage will be more successful if, you work with your spouse on the goals you both want to achieve.  Doing so will help you achieve the kind of marriage you want!”  I discovered a while back that when I am working secretly on a goal with my husband and he does not know anything about it, I do not have his support and chaos is sure to ensue.  There have been times when I thought I was on the right track but since he did not know what my plans were, he made other plans and my goal got interfered with!  Often causing resentment and in many cases, hurt feelings!  Unless you are planning a surprise party or like this is not the strategy to a successful marriage.

How can you set goals and have your and your spouse on the right track in marriage?

Here are a few questions you could be asking to get the ball rolling to a fulfilling marriage. 

Each of you sit down and ask yourself these questions then come together and share your thoughts with each other.

  • What do I want our relationship to look like in the future?
  • How will I know when we have succeeded?
  • What is something I have always wanted to do as a couple?
  • What do I miss as a couple from our dating years?
  • How I want you to respond to me when we do not agree?
  • What romance looks like to me? (her)  or What respect looks like to me? (him)
  • Specifically, what I would like to see us accomplish this year is…

After getting together and sharing these answers, sit down and set some goals for this year.

Goals do not have to be complicated!

Some examples of some marriage goals:

  • To say I love you and kiss you each morning and evening.
  • Send her flowers once a month for the year.
  • Leave a love note in his car each day before work.
  • Read together each night.
  • Never argue in front of the kids.
  • Every three months we get away for a night without kids.
  • Lunch date every week.
  • Each month we will go over finances and plan for the next month.
  • Hire a housekeeper to come in once a month to do deep cleaning.

What would be a goal that you might or have set with your spouse?  Share here.

Sometimes your spouse will make the bet accountability partner when setting goals.  Sometimes it is better to get someone else from the outside to help you keep your goals with your spouse.  You can include another couple and then the four of you could check in with each other once a month via pot luck or double date and support each other in having a strong and healthy marriage.

My husband and I go over calendars in the beginning of each year and plan our confirmed vacations and important dates.  This way when something comes up and you have been invited to do something you can look at see if your calendar already has a priority on it.  Your spouse and family is always your number one priority.  If something comes up that is a once in a life time opportunity then talk with your spouse and work it out!  Communication is always the key to being successful in marriage.  When you set goals, plan your calendar around those goals and keep open the lines of communication then you are on the right track to a successful marriage.

If you need some support in setting some marriage goals, reach out and ask me.  I am always supportive for a successful relationship!

Do You Keep Trying To Get Divorced

I will admit that I am not always sensible.  I married my husband after thinking hard about whether or not I wanted to go through another divorce.  It is really a challenge on the marriage to stay married when you keep trying to get divorced.

After my first marriage failed and I was hit by a two by four with “I am leaving and I want a divorce” while out to dinner on our second anniversary, I felt I had no control over that situation.  I felt lost and abandoned by my first husband.

Lucky for my next husband, I was going to be in control of this marriage!

After marrying my second husband I decided that he was going to leave me to only I would be in control of it this time.  Every time we got into an argument I would just tell him to go away and if he wanted to leave then just leave.  He usually went to a man cave and worked until we were both calmed down.

If he did not like something I was doing, I suggested he get over it or leave.  If he did not like how I was raising the kids, I was not willing to compromise so I told him to back off or leave.

Do you see a pattern that was developing?  I wanted to at least be in control if he left me.  Then I would not be hit with another two-by-four moment.  Since he was going to leave anyway it might as well be when I gave him permission to leave.  Anyone else out there like me?  Nothing like a little old fashioned self sabotage!

So how do you stay married, when you keep trying to get divorced?

Marry someone who is about as strong willed as you?  Or maybe, because God is stronger than me?  Those are great ones.  Here is what I have had to do over the years to break this pattern in my life.

I attended many marriage classes, personal development workshops and allowed myself to be honest with my husband.  It wasn’t until about six years into the marriage that my husband took me into his arms and told me that he was not leaving me so I might as well stop trying to get a divorce.  We have worked really hard to stay married.  We have had to compromise and discover each others strengths so when our weaknesses showed up we could remind each other of our strengths.

Do what ever it takes to keep falling in love with your spouse!  I always loved him deep in my heart even on the days that I did not like him.  No my husband is not a saint – but he does have some saintly qualities for sticking with me all these years.  It takes a strong man (like my Marine) to equally match wits with me.  I am hard headed, bossy and an action focused woman.  He is hard headed, strong willed, bossy and remembers to focus on us!  At the same time, when things get tough, we both have to bring out our compassionate side and love each other through the challenges.

Marriage can be one of the greatest rewards in life.  We celebrate anniversaries because when we both are alive and still together that is a great accomplishment!  Celebrate being married.

If you are anything like me, working hard to stay married while trying to be in control of divorce here is my advice.  Take all that divorce energy and put it towards staying married and you just might be amazed at what you create in your life.  We celebrate 2o years married this year!  A big celebration after working so hard the first ten years to get divorced on my terms.

Keep looking for marriage mentors, people who have been married longer than you and widow/widowers that can share insight too.  Ask others how they did what you want to do.  Keep reminding yourself that it can get better when you are better at it.

Me Time – When The Time Is Right

We were speaking with our oldest son last night and we were reminded about how life was many years ago.

When we first go married we were broke!  That’s right, pretty much no money.  We started our business more than six months before we walked down the isle.  When you start a business and are working it, it takes everything you have to get it going.  That is if you didn’t have a nice stash of money to start your business.

We lived in a house that was owned by my husband’s great uncle.  Very small three bedroom house with a leaky roof.  Our boys had one bedroom, we were in one room and the business was in the smallest.  We could not afford much.  We were barley making ends meet.

Gifts for our kids where pretty much what ever grandparents or aunts get for them.  Christmas and birthday’s were the basics and a couple small toys I could find on sale.  I took a job in retail to make ends meet.  As my husband said “we had nothing to lose”.  Life was stressful and felt hard.

My son who is learning about some hard choices in life right now.  He remembers how the last ten years have been and he wants to live that kind of life style.  He does not remember the hard times we went through in the earlier years of his life.  I do though.

Marriage and relationships are difficult.  There are hard times and times when everything seems to be on the right track.  When we get off track many times we just want to through in the towel or become more selfish.  Me time and what about me is usually what one person in the relationship is quoting.  Me time?  There is no “Me Time” when your relationship is at stake.  That is when you have to dig your heals in and remember this is about us!  Our life together, how we are going to solve this issue and what we need to do to make the relationship better!  “Me Time” comes when the relationship is stable. When the hard work is done.  Just like working in the world – most people do not go on vacation in the middle of a real important deal.

I am not talking about time to take care of yourself.  I am talking about the self destructing habit in relationships when you have to dig down and work hard to create the kind of relationship you deserve.  Many people will take the hard times and become selfish and the end result is divorce.  If you hear yourself talking about “me” during a tough time re-choose and start focusing on the we and us in relationship.  It is not easy to do.  I know you can do it.  Reach out to people who are doing well in their relationships and ask for support.  Ask how they have made it through the tough times.  Keep your marriage on track even when it is hard and the reward will pay off.

 

How Many Times Have You Said I Do

This August I will be saying wedding vows for the sixth time.

Holy cow that does not me I will heading into my sixth marriage.  As stated in previous blogs, I got married when I was 18 and getting divorced at 20.  I again took the vow of marriage when I was twenty five.  Since then I have renewed my vows to my husband every five years.

Every five years we have a wedding, exchange our vows and invite others to share this time with us.  Each time we renew our vows we make it fun and have a theme for our renewals.

5 year anniversary – We renewed our vows in the Japanese Tea Garden where he proposed to me.  We had about 30 attendees who shared this time with us.  Small reception/party back at our home after the ceremony and photos.

10 year anniversary – We eloped to Las Vegas where some cousins met us at the Little Chapel of the West and we exchanged our vows with a quick and fun ceremony.  We all went out to dinner afterwards.  (Sorry no Elvis here)

15 year anniversary – I finally walked down the church isle.  Our pastor performed the ceremony and I surprised my husband with a solo version of “Celine Dion’s -The Power of Love”.  We had about 50 people in attendance and a reception at the church followed.  Our kids took the place of best men and daughter of honor.

20 year anniversary is this year.  We are planning a beach wedding in shorts.  I am fine with that as long as it is on a warm beach where the water is warm too.  California is out as the Pacific Ocean is just too cold for me! I will post later with more details I am sure.

But why do we renew our vows every five years?

We wanted to find a way to continue to commit to one another over and over again.  A way that would allow us to acknowledge that we were committed even when life as a married couple was feeling hard and almost impossible.  When people ask why we do this, I often tell them that when we first got married I only knew a small part of him.  So each time we renew our vows we are now committing to what we have discovered along the way.  I can not say “I didn’t agree with that” because each time I say “I Do” to him I agree to what I now know.  Oh, it doesn’t always mean that I like it, it just means I know about it and I accept that it is something we will work on and we are aware of it.  What ever it is!

How do you renew your commitment on a regular basis with your spouse?  If you do not yet, what is something you could start that shows honor for your vows and your spouse on a regular basis?

Find Great Mentors For Your Marriage

Like I have stated in earlier posts, my husband and I started a business together 20 years ago.  We started out of our home in a small bedroom in our small house.  A small desk, a phone line added to our house and a phone book!  When we started our business there was not public internet as we know it today.  The computer we had was a Mac 512 box, with a green screen.  It was necessary to do sales the old fashion way.  The phone, a phone book and calling to find out who you could make an appointment with to share about your product/services.

Marriage was very similar.  When we got married we had to work, find a home to live in and learn from the mistakes we were making in marriage without the aide of internet, reality tv or unlimited channels to see how others do it.  We had the bare basics to get married.

  • Love – “If we love each other, everything will be okay.”
  • Hope – “If we hope for what we want then we should be able to find it and make it work.”
  • Naivety – “We can do anything because we have hope and love.”

HaHa!  To be young, fresh and in love!

A lot has changed throughout the years.

We have the opportunity to have role models on both sides of the spectrum of what to do in marriage and what not to do.  Sometimes the lines cross and we are not sure what is the “right” thing to do.  We can have access to doctors, lawyers and forums for what ever group we want to be a part of.  The “man/woman hates club” or the “mommies doing it right club” or the “I don’t need anyone’s help club”.  It is all available at ease to use just by typing in the words we want to find.

In order for me to have the kind of marriage I wanted. (A life lasting one) I have to pay attention to what I surround myself with.

I recall times when I didn’t pay attention to finding the right mentors to follow in marriage.  I discovered throughout the years that if I hang around people who were fighting in marriage, my husband and I started fighting.  If someone was telling me about how bad their husband was being to them, then I had to try and match that so they did not feel left out.  If a friend was going through divorce, suddenly that word would pop up around my house and not for the good.

If you want to have a long lasting marriage and relationship with your spouse then hang out with the right people!  Get yourself to friends houses where they are enjoying marriage.  Hang around some newlyweds every now and again.  They are great at reminding you to bring that feeling back into your life.  Speak to people who have been married for years ans ask them how they make marriage work.  After a few years of being married, I began asking people who were married ten years how they stayed married that long.  Then I began asking people who had been married twenty years or more.  Watch the best television show that support what you want to create in your marriage.  I learned a lot from the different stages of my life.  It will be up to you to seek out the solutions you want in your marriage.  Have the courage to say, “I do not want to be a divorce statistic” I want to grow in my relationship and learn how to make it work for both of us!  Surround yourself with great mentors for marriage to keep you on the right track.

This applies to all area of your life.  If you want to be better in business, parenting, personal development, relationships of any kind, find yourself great mentors to keep you on track.  Learn from others who have been through the pains and joys to help you through the process quicker.  No one ever said that you have to experience life as bad as everyone else!  You can be better today quicker when you get mentors to get you through life easier!