Who Said He Could Change?

For more than 20 years my husband and I have been together.  I was looking back and thinking… Who changed in this relationship?

We were both in our mid twenties when we decided to get married, start a business and raise kids together!  What were we thinking?

When we met he had just finished up active duty in the Marines and was just beginning his four years of active reserve.  He had a good body (of course that is my opinion) because he stayed fit in the Marines.  His arms were built well because he lifted a few weights here and there.  His body over all was a bit lanky and he wore black rimmed bc glassed. (bc = birth control)  Let’s just say he had a few nerdly qualities about him!

Me on the other hand, I was hot! (Again, my opinion) I was in the police academy, working out and being fit!  I had to get over that 6′ wall an all!  My attitude was hard core and I could match wits with some of the best nerds I knew!

Somewhere along the way he changed!  How could he?  I mean I married this man with a specific look and attitude about him!

Over the past twenty plus years, he has changed his glasses and then had eye surgery so he does not even wear glasses!  Who said he could do that?  Oh, yea that was me!

His body has change too!  This skinny lanky guy who had a size 30 waist is somewhere around a 36 now!  Where did those hot arms that used to wrap around me go?  The ones I used to grab hold of and think he could protect me against any force that would challenge me!  Okay let’s be clear on this, I did not give him permission to change in this area!

Even his nerdy qualities have changed!  Well mostly, from being the nerd to the Mr. Knows a Lot!  There is just a bit of difference between the two! One just knows and the other has a bit of ego behind it!

I have watched this transition over the years without paying much attention to it until I suddenly realized he is no longer the man I originally married!  How could he?  Who said this was okay in marriage?  What was God thinking when he allowed our bodies, ideas and attitudes to change over time?  I think I will throw a temper tantrum until he returns to his original state!!!!

Oh, like that will ever happen!

I have also noticed in this awareness, that in spite of the above changes he has made many other changes too!  He loves me better now than he ever did when we were first married.  We not only love each other, but we respect each other in ways that our young naivety could never imagine.  I still trust him with my life and know that even though his arms are not long built to look like he could protect me, his heart would be more powerful than his arms could ever have been.

He has changed throughout the years to be a better father than who he was in our younger years.  He is a great leader in business and works hard to continue to educate himself to keep his nerdly qualities intact.  I occasionally ask him to show me his arms and I still woo over how they are. (don’t tell him I am remembering them from twenty plus years ago.)  When his arms are wrapped around me and I feel his touch it is as if we were made specifically for each other.

Somehow through the years he has changed.  Some things for the good, some for the not so good, some things to bring out the best in us both!  We have not always like the changes in each other and yet those changes have actually gotten is to grow and become the people we are today.  I am not always very receptive to change!  Yet, when I can look back and see the benefits that the changes bring about in the long run change was worth it.  Expect your spouse to change!  They will never again be the person you married and neither will you.  We are all destined to change.  We can be mad about it or we can work together to make sure the change is a benefit for all involved.  I know that my husband will never be the man he once was, but the man he has become is so much more worth the love I now have for him.

Before you judge your spouse for the changing that takes place with marriage look closely at the benefits those changes can have too.  Oh, and even though I hate to admit it…. I have changed too.  I think overall for the better, with a couple bad habits added in to keep him on his toes!  :o)

Are Cell Phones Messing With Your Marriage?

How much do you enjoy the convenience  of cell phones?  Do they make your life easier?  How are they for your relationship?

I have mixed feeling about cell phones and relationship.

I love the convenience of being able to check in with my husband when we are apart.  I can easily connect with him if I need him to grab something from the store on his way home from the office.  If we are traveling away from each other they are great to stay connected.  And of course if there is an emergency then having a cell phone is perfect for getting your loved ones to you.

The other side of the coin is that cell phones drive me mad!  While going out to dinner with my husband he checks in on his phone.  Sitting at home watching a movie together and he whips out that cell phone and checks out what is happening on facebook, emails and texts.

I think that cell phones have been a great addition to staying connected in relationships.  The challenge is keeping your marriage relationship number one over all the other relationships.  Next would be keeping your relationships with your kids stronger than your friend requests and games.

Just this morning while laying in bed i was playing a game on my iPad.  My husband came in the room to take a shower and get ready for his day.  He came over to kiss me and I was too busy trying not to lose in my game.  He kissed my forehead and headed to the shower.  As he waited for the hot water to get to the shower head he came back for another kiss and low and behold I was still playing my game.  I heard his sigh as he was heading back to the shower.  I surprised myself with what I said to him. “Now you know how I feel when you are on your phone all the time!”

Whoa, what did I just say?  In just a split second I realized that I did not want him to know how I felt so many times in our relationship when he has chosen the phone over me.  That feeling of a small rejection, of being alone and out of touch or the lost intimate moments that we both have missed out on.  I am not willing to let some little game on my pad, a message on my phone or hanging out on facebook interrupt my relationship with my husband!

How are you letting your cell phone interrupt your intimate moments?  How has your cell phone left a connections with your most important loves  disconnected?  Has being on your cell phone left someone you love feeling alone?

Make sure you put the most important people above your desire, want or habit with your cell phone, pads and computers.  Make sure they know that the important moments in their lives deserve to have your attentions and then put the phone down and connect with them!

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.

Right Marriage For You

I believe in a lifelong marriage.  Let me be a little more specific of what I write about in this blog.  I do not want marriages that are just marriages for the sake of your kids, for looking good or for doing what others think is right.  I am sharing about being in a fulfilling marriage because two people are committed to a lifelong love.  A love affair in such away that you are doing what is right for you, not because it is right for someone else.

Marriage is difficult enough without having to try to make it happen for someone else.  Marriage has been put into question, challenged and taught that it is not necessary in relationship.  When trouble hits divorce is often a first choice verses a last resort.  Celebrities get married in a big fan fare and divorced with even more media.  Marriage for media attention not for love.  Publicity stunts verses commitment to a long term relationship.

I am an everyday normal wife and mother.  I do not have a manager, publicist or spin agent for the mistakes that I make.  I work hard at being a great wife to my husband and I expect for my husband to work equally as hard to be the best husband he can be for me.

Our kids have attempted to play us when they wanted something.  Asking me even after dad said no.  We had to come together as a couple to put a stop to that action with four children.  Children can try to work their way into a marriage and get in so deep that we forget that the marriage is in place for the children not because of the children.  Marriage helps to teach children about love, commitment, values and solutions for difficult challenges they face.

When we look deeper into marriage we can see that there are a lot of valuable lessons that can be learned by being committed to a fulfilling marriage.  To often we are asked to be divided instead of coming together.

Learning how to communicate with each other so that we each know what the other will tell our children.  Clear communication with your spouse will help set boundaries around your marriage.  It helps to keep others out of your marriage that are not meant to be there.

Learn what each of you stand for.  What are the values you have personally?  Does your spouse have the same values or can you both work with your differences?  If you can not work with the differences then you will have to agree to disagree and find ways to commit around your differences.  Teaching others how to do this is your mission in tolerance.

In order to have the right marriage for you, you must know what the right marriage looks like.

  • What do you want in your marriage?
  • How do you want your marriage to look to your family and to those outside of your family?
  • What are the values you want in your marriage?  If you do not have those yet, then how will you get them?
  • What are your moral and do you stand for them in your marriage?
  • What does your spouse want in your marriage?  How do you know?
  • How can you communicate better with your spouse?
  • What do you do when you both get into an argument that still honors the marriage?

Be the right person so you can have the right marriage for you!

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.

Is Love Enough

When talking about marriage and being in a relationship I used to think love was all we needed to stay married.  Boy was I wrong!  My limited experience with love when young had me believing that love was easy.

My experiences over the years with love and marriage have shown me that love is not enough to sustain a relationship.  I was completely in love at eighteen.  After dating for over a year my sweetheart had stolen my heart completely.  When we got married I didn’t think I could ever love anyone more than that moment in my life.  Somewhere over the next two years I was still in love but the illusion that love was easy was gone.  We fought a lot, disagreed on how to raise our infant son and seem to have lost intimacy.  He wanted no responsibility, wanted to buy a great stereo system and accessories for his Toyota 4×4.  We were dispensable!  Love was not enough to keep us together!

Even though I loved him with all my heart, it was not enough to keep him wanting to be married to naive me!

My limited exposure to love and marriage was my parents relationship.  They met and a week later they were married.  He was in the military and we traveled all over.  Every two years we moved and lost friends.  Always having to rebuild relationship.  My parents and sisters were my only constant in my life.  I don’t remember my parents fighting with each other a lot.  My dad was gone a lot and when he was home my mom seemed to wait on him hand and foot.  He almost always was in a bad mood when he was home when it came to me.  At twelve my parents informed us that they were getting a divorce.  I was surprised.  Turns out he had an affair and he now wanted to marry her.  Years later my mom told me that even though they we married for thirteen years they were probably only together about six years because of the time he spent away with the military.  My dad is currently on his fifth marriage and my mom has been married three times.  Her last husband passed away about eighteen years ago.  My mom also told me that while she was married to my dad she did what he wanted because she did not want to be a single mother of four daughters.  She compromised who she was for him to be happy and he cheated on her as her reward.

I wanted my marriage to be different that my parents.  When I got married at eighteen, I learned that people at my wedding were placing odds on how long we would stay married.  Why did I not see the signs?

How is it other people think they know what is best for your life even though they are not the ones living it?

Back to love and it being enough.  There is still a place in my heart for my ex-husband.  If I throw that away then I would look at my son everyday and be bitter.  My son is the spitting image of my ex.  I am not bitter with my ex.  He was never capable of loving me the way I was meant to be loved.  I was not capable of loving him the way he was meant to be loved either.  I did not know what love really was yet and my perception of love was skewed by movies, books and dreams.

Love is a choice everyday to stay together.  Love is about understanding yourself enough to be able to understand your partner.  When it comes to love you can never love your spouse or relationship more than you love yourself.  To think otherwise would be deceiving yourself.  In order to truly love you must surrender what you think love looks like and create your own kind of love with each other.  Every relationship is different!  If you find you keep getting in the same kind of relationship, I would challenge you to look at you!

Love is about nurturing a friendship.  Being willing to compromise only because you care about the relationship is such a way that the compromise enhances you both.  It is never about keeping points on who did what or who did more.  Love forgives because to not forgive destroys trust and compassion.  Choosing love everyday even when you do not feel like it in the moment, builds your confidence in marriage and keeps you standing tall when you might not feel very strong.  Love and commitment help to keep you grounded when you would otherwise want to run and give up.

Marriage is not for the weak at heart and yet I believe love is meant for everyone.  It just means to love you must build strength in love and commitment like building a muscle at the gym.  Working everyday to get stronger.  Ask what is working when it is going well so when you hit a tough spot you can work together to find the solutions.  Helping each other through the challenging times and not shutting down when it gets tough.  Build those love and commitment muscles so you are prepared when you are faced with adversity.  For many years, I continued to ask my husband of almost twenty years, “Why do you love me?”.  Most of the time he would just tell me “I don’t know, I just do”.  I was insecure and wanted him to in essence tell me what he liked so I did not have to do the work to discover him.  Now in our relationship he randomly tells me why he loves me and why he likes me too.  Not because I am asking but because he feels it in his heart to share.  A much more desirable outcome for me.

Love is not enough!  It is enough to get started but not enough to sustain you through the tough times.  Honor, respect, compassion, forgiveness, compromise and commitment are some of the many qualities needed in all relationships to sustain you through the tough spots.  Keeping your heart open and willing to learn more will be the tools you need to stay committed.  Allowing yourself to love and be loved is a great place to be.  And remember there is so much more to marriage and commitment.

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!

One Syllable Words In Marriage

Ever have one of those days when being married feels like a bad test in life?

Shortly after graduating high school I thought I was an average intelligent person.  My senior year I had enough credits to get out of school at noon.  I caught a bus and went to a 32 hour a week job and then I went home and helped my mom out around the house.  I was a responsible young lady.  I was smarter than many and worked hard even as a young adult.

I got married eight months after I graduated to my high school sweetheart.  We had a son and moved to another city because he got a job at the Sheriff’s department.  He was making enough money to pay the bills but not enough for extras like child care or fancy vehicles.  I stayed home and took care of our son.

My days were filled with feedings, playing, diaper changing and everything that goes along with a infant in the house.  My husband worked graveyards and I had to make sure our son was quiet during the days so daddy could sleep.  When he awoke it was up to me to make sure he had his meals and was prepared to go to work.

It was difficult for me to keep the house clean, keep our son quiet and still maintain a relationship with my husband.  I admit one day I was a little frustrated with being in a new town with no friends, no one to talk to and my days filled with talking to my young son.  I told my husband that he never has time for me and doesn’t even talk to me about anything that is going on.  The comments he made after that is something I will never forget.  At the moment he spoke, I felt about two inches tall and felt I had no value left as an adult.

“Why would I talk to you, you only speak in one syllable words?”  “I want to talk to adults who are smart!”  To my defense I said “I am around an infant all day what exactly do you want me to say to him?  Had I been as smart as I am now I would have seen the writing on the wall.  He was pretty much done with this young woman.

Since those statements were said to me over 25 years ago, I have worked hard to prove I am not a stupid mother, wife and woman.  I have let go of most of the hurt that crushed my spirit that day.  I strive everyday to be better today than I was yesterday.  I have always had a good vocabulary but somehow in that moment of marriage I was a complete one syllable moron.  Did I say that he left me less than a year later?  Yep and even though it didn’t feel like it at the time, it was one of the greatest gifts he gave me, next to my son of course!

Never let a man or woman tell you that you are less than you are in marriage! Or anywhere in your life.  Speak highly of each other and know that insults are hurtful and can devastate the heart of the person you say you love.  Marriage is about working together for the greater good of both.  Fulfilling a companionship that is more intimate than any other relationship you are meant to have.   Speak the best to your spouse.  You know that saying “people will live up to what you expect of them”.  Speak what you want with your spouse and surprise yourself with what comes into your relationship.

How could you lift your spouse up today?  What would be something you would like to hear from your spouse?

Feel free to share a time when you felt a low in your marriage.