Looking forward. The joy of watching our children take their place in the world.

The joy of watching our children take their place in the world. Looking forward.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. Mignon Mc Laughlin

This is a year where everything we get to celebrate is sweeter. Even though celebrating things is tough, having something to celebrate boosts our spirits. Over the next few months or as long as it takes I am looking forward to being the mother of the groom.

It is a tough time to plan a wedding. Family weddings are being postponed and when the next wedding gets in line, what do they do? When your sister’s wedding supposed to happen this year is postponed till next year what does the next bride do? They may already have been waiting through a year and a half engagement to plan their own wedding.

Is their etiquette about two siblings getting married in the same year? What about someone whose dream is a destination wedding. How does one plan one of those in these times?

I highly recommend a destination wedding. It was easy, fun, and about as carefree for the families, during a wedding as one can expect. The wedding planner takes care of everything and what a fantastic job she did handling a wedding per day. Every wedding looked like it met the bride and groom’s vision.

Wedding season is upon us and those who really want to get married this year will probably do it in constrained circumstances. A friend talked about having friends on zoom as he and his fiancé have a small wedding. My mother in law is talking about the same thing happening for someone at her church.

Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking forward together in the same direction. Unknown

Many couples live together before getting married and they may put off the wedding they planned. But, those who do not live together may not want to put off starting their life together.

When things don’t work out as planned it adds to our story. Often we look back at what we overcame as fondly as what went exactly as planned. Overcoming is where we meet our best selves. We rise to the occasion and feel proud of what we manage to accomplish in difficult circumstances.

At one wedding I was part of one of the groomsmen who ended up sick was replaced by the groom without the bride knowing of this hiccup.

Planning a wedding may be good preparation for starting a life together. Compromise will be needed. Plans may change and disappointment may have to be dealt with.

There is no happily ever after in married life. If there was we would die of boredom. Challenges keep us on our feet. We sometimes hear people say, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Maybe if we knew we couldn’t fail it would take all the fun out of it. Why bother, we know we won’t fail?

We don’t want everything in life to be too exciting but we also don’t want to know nothing will ever change, be challenging, or exciting. Nothing stays the same even when we wish it would.

Do people who finally get married after living the carefree bachelor life for more decades than they like to count ask themselves why they didn’t do it sooner? When all their friends were taking on the heavy lifting of life and building a family what were they thinking?

Marriage and family is the cornerstone of our society. Watching our children take their place in life is one of the joys we have as parents. We are looking forward to planning and participating in a wedding. Isn’t life great when we have something to look forward to?

There are many things that keep me from getting married. But there will be a time when marriage makes sense to me. Adam Levine

Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day. Barbara De Angelis

Getting married, for me, was the best thing I ever did. I was suddenly beset with an immense sense of release, that we have something more important than our separate selves, and that is the marriage. There’s immense happiness that can come from working towards that. Nick Cave

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture, and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

If you purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

Love Is A Decision: Proven Techniques to Keep Your Marriage Alive and Lively by [Gary Smalley, John Trent]

Follow the Authors

Gary Smalley+ Follow

Burkan Tolly+ Follow

Love Is A Decision: Proven Techniques to Keep Your Marriage Alive and Lively Kindle Edition

by Gary Smalley (Author), John Trent (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars    87 ratings

 See all 10 formats and editions

Building stronger relationships in tough times. Tough times never last, but tough people do.

Tough times never last, but tough people do. Building stronger relationships in tough times.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The best thing to spend on your relationship is time, conversation, understanding and honesty. Unknown

My daughter tells me her husband saw a man on FaceBook saying, “without sports to watch he’s noticing a woman he doesn’t know lives in his house.”

How many of us have a person we don’t know as well as we should that is living in our house? How many of us don’t know ourselves well enough? We don’t know our partner’s hopes and dreams but we also don’t know our own.

A relationship expert was being interviewed and the interviewer asked what he could do to make his marriage better. He was told to ask his wife what her dreams were. As soon as the show was over he did just that.

Now without the distraction of sports, we can spend more time with each other. Long walks are good ways to connect and talk about what we want out of life, what we’ve already accomplished, what we want less of, what we want more of.

We can live in the same house and not interact on deep levels.  Relationships may reach new levels because some of the distractions of life are gone. This may be a turning point for some of us. There was a time when all we needed was each other; if we spend time together we may find it is true again.

It doesn’t take much and each part of a couple does their own thing. One might be watching sports and the other finds something to do. We might wander over to each other’s corners occasionally but we find what we are doing needs more and more time.

The best relationship is when you can act like a lover and best friends at the same time. Unknown

I’m guilty of this. Where my husband and I would have sat over coffee some mornings I write a blog. Where we might have done something in the evening I’m writing or editing. We work together and our desks are in front of each other all day, so I feel time on my own in the evening or morning is okay. But, do we risk becoming work buddies and parents, instead of what we once were to each other, everything?

What do forty-year-old good relationships look like? Do we let our relationships slide like we let our health and fitness slide? Do we make it seem okay by saying what do you think forty-year-old love looks like? Do we do things in our relationships as we do for our hair? We color our hair, and we put on a good show for others but when we come back home we each go to our own corner until dinner time?

Mom and Dad had a good fifty-year marriage. I feel very lucky that I grew up in a happy family and was surrounded by happy families. We were given a sense of security knowing if we went home to see Mom and Dad they would both be there, and they were until Dad died.

It’s our turn to provide for our kids the love, security, and example of a happy family. We can’t provide a perfect family, and pretending to be one is not good. We need to let our children know we can disagree with our spouse; we can work through problems and meet challenges with our spouse. When we show our children that we can have a long, happy marriage then they can believe they too can have a long happy marriage as well. Long happy marriages don’t mean there were never disagreements, hurt, anger, disappointment or challenge. It means we got through the tough times to better times, felt stronger and like we accomplished something.

Maybe with all this time on our hands and fewer distractions. we’ll see the person we fell in love with and fall in love with them again at a deeper level.

Time is the secret to a long marriage. Isn’t facing challenges together easier than facing them alone? Can we build a stronger relationship through these tough times?

Isn’t it inspiring when we see old couples who love each other with a love that shines through? Wouldn’t we like to be one of those old couples one day?

You can’t just give up on someone because the situation’s not ideal. Great relationships aren’t great because they have no problems. They’re great because both people care enough about the other person to find a way to make it work. Unknown

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. Mignon Mc Laughlin

A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the individuals and in the way they express their love. Pearl S. Buck

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

If you purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

See all 4 images

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love Hardcover – Apr 8 2008

by Dr. Sue Johnson EdD (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 1,024 ratings#1 Best Seller in Marriage & Family

Our unmet expectations are one of the worst things for our marriages. Can we give more and expect less.

Can we give more and expect less? Our unmet expectations are one of the worst things for our marriages.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Don’t blame people for disappointing you, blame yourself for expecting too much from them. Unknown

My son came home yesterday and looked at three kinds of chocolates on my husband’s and my desks and said. “You two used Valentine’s Day as an excuse to pig out on chocolate.” Then he asked for chocolate.

Today I understand is the worst day for marriage; I’m looking at a blog whose title is Valentine’s Day advice for a marriage to be ‘divorce-proof’ is offensive and dangerous. It projects a sense of blame – and shame – on those of us who’ve decided to end a marriage as if we just were too lazy to do our homework.

This blog seems like it is written by someone who is recently-separated. As someone who is in a long relationship, if it was worth it to end my relationship, meaning we absolutely have decided we have nowhere to go the chasm is too big, the hurt, disrespect, and betrayal too much to bear.  I hope I would still applaud those who had enough of a relationship to work on, and were looking for advice on how to work on their marriage.

Can every relationship, or should every relationship be divorce proofed? I doubt it and I believe some people should run from the relationship they are in, but others look back and realize that what they were running from was just mundane ordinary stuff that we have to deal with in relationships, and they could have divorce-proofed their marriage or at least tried by realizing they had a good person. The grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence. We all have to get through disappointment, misunderstandings, and unmet expectations.

We said we would love, honor, and respect, not that we wouldn’t disappoint, misunderstand or meet every expectation we don’t even know about.

When we say something to the effect of, “the notion that I could have divorce-proofed my marriage if I had just followed a 12 step program or we had worked harder at romance via date nights and weekend getaways demeans the work we did as a couple – not to mention the complicated dance of living in a partnership with another human being.”

Really, all frustration is birthed out of unmet expectations, and so is nearly every conflict. Matt Chandler

Marriage is a complicated dance and if we love watching dancing couples the ones who master the most complicated dances are the ones we love to watch the most. Saying the marriage dance is too hard to master doesn’t sound like a good enough reason for divorce? No one knows how much work someone did in their marriage, but when we call it quits we should feel good about our decision and if we really did the best we could and didn’t give up before that was the only option, then marriage advice to couples should not offend us.

There are tons of books, columns, and talks, on relationships. I listen to quite a few of them; I pick up books and glean insights from them. Would they be enough if my husband and I were going through what brings people to divorce? I doubt it, but I am glad they are out there. I am sure they help many couples.

Marriage Story is a movie about a marriage breaking up. To me, it highlights how what seemed like a couple who had a lot going for them, but the husband has betrayed his wife with infidelity, and she then betrays him by letting him think she is going across the country for an acting opportunity only to hit him with divorce papers when he comes to visit her and their son at her Mother’s house. They had agreed to keep lawyers out of it. Bringing the lawyers in brought in the vitriol, and makes a relationship that maybe could have been saved into one that even civility toward each other is a stretch.

One of the things we should do is not overreact by ending something that has taken a long time to build and impacts a lot of other people in our lives. If we have children it is a bigger thing to divorce than if we don’t. I remember a movie with Billy Crystal as a therapist. He had a couple in their late fifties or sixties in his office, very average looking, he said to them, “where are you going?”

One of the big complaints I hear from men is women are initiating divorce. Is this because we women are not realistic enough to realize that real life is real? Do we think if we get rid of our husband some fantasy life will materialize? One of the things I think we all need to do is be the spouse that would be hard to replace. If we can keep our marriage on the plus side instead of the negative side, our spouses will at least have to think about how likely they are to get better.

Are we doing our best to meet our partner’s needs most of the time? Do we know what those needs are? Are we critical, contemptuous, defensive, and stonewalling? Could we instead become respectful, grateful, complimentary, kind, understanding, loving, accepting, generous, giving more and expecting less?

Disappointment is unmet expectations, and the more significant the expectations, the more significant the disappointment. Brene Brown

Expectations are resentments under construction. Unknown

The greatest unhappiness a person can feel in life is unmet expectations. Laura Lee Guhrke

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

If you purchase an item through the Amazon link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon affiliate program.

How Happiness Happens: Finding Lasting Joy in a World of Comparison, Disappointment, and Unmet Expectations by [Lucado, Max]

Follow the Author

Max Lucado+ Follow

How Happiness Happens: Finding Lasting Joy in a World of Comparison, Disappointment, and Unmet Expectations Kindle Edition

by Max Lucado (Author)

4.8 out of 5 stars    246 ratings

 See all 7 formats and editions

Is calm, trust, and commitment the magic trio of relationships? Can we aim for five positives for every negative interaction in our relationship?

Can we aim for five positive interactions for every negative one? Is calm, trust, and commitment the magic trio of relationships?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Conflict is an opportunity to learn to love our partner better over time. Julie Gottman

Yesterday I was watching a talk by John Gottman. He’s put together a graph where the wife’s positive or negative and the husband’s positive or negative feelings intersect.

Wife positive /Husband negative                      Wife Positive/Husband positive

Wife negative/Husband negative                     Wife negative/Husband positive

We each are negative and positive and when we are both positive at the same time isn’t our relationship wonderful? It may be very dangerous for our marriages when we are both negative at the same time, especially if it is for extended lengths of time.

He talks about the four horsemen that derail marriage criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. He also talks about the magic trio of calm, trust, and commitment.

We may think that if we can both just be happy and positive and live in the happy/happy quadrant all is well. It probably is what we should do, and we may even have been lucky enough to have lived most of our lives together in the happy quadrant.

Some of us might one day wake up and wonder what happened. Where did it go wrong? What happened to the happy person we married, or what happened to the happy person we used to be?

Has anyone who has a marriage of any length managed to not visit all four quadrants? The problem probably arises when we hit the negative quadrant together and the four horsemen arrive at our doorstep; criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Everything our partner does bother us, everything we do seem to bother them. We say things that have hidden meanings, a dig here, and another dig there. There may be eye-rolling and a loss of respect.

How do we move into a positive quadrant? How do we make ourselves happy? How do we make ourselves easier to live with?

According to John Gottman, we need to have a ratio of five positive interactions for every negative interaction to keep our relationship on track. We need to foster calm, trust, and commitment.

It’s a myth that if you solve your problems you’ll automatically be happy. We need to teach couples that they’ll never solve most of their problems. John Gottman

If we are committed to getting through the tough times to better times and our partner knows it, they may find it easier going through their own tough times. Can we be calm amidst chaos for our partner, and they are calm amid chaos for us? Can we trust ourselves and each other to hold on through the tough times, can we trust ourselves and be vulnerable instead of hard, defensive, and stonewalling?

So often we know what needs to happen, he or she needs to change. But, we can only change ourselves and if we quit reacting in anger, or defensiveness something can blow over instead of becoming a raging inferno as she reacts, he reacts, and words are said that can’t be taken back.

Just say “ouch,” Laura Doyle tells us in The Surrendered Wife. Quit trying to fix what isn’t ours to fix. Work on ourselves, make ourselves happy and let the other person work on themself and find what makes them happy.

It isn’t about not having disagreements, it is not about not giving our side of things, it is about finding a positive balance in our interactions. It is about turning toward each other instead of away from each other. It is making the gesture big and small for connection. It is reacting positively to our partner’s gestures big and small.

We will never solve many of the problems in our relationships. We will live with them and work around them. One of us may be a night person; the other is a morning person. One of us has to watch what we eat, the other can eat anything. We don’t see things the same way; we don’t think the solutions to problems are the same. We might not even see the same things as problems. We chose our partner and they chose us. Is learning to have five positive interactions for every negative one, and fostering calm, trust, and commitment what we can do to make our relationships better?

Are we calm, trusting, and committed, most of the time?

We have found that the success or failure of a marriage depends not on whether there is conflict, but on how conflict is handled when it does occur. The Gottman Laboratory Studies

Couples wait an average of six years of being unhappy with their relationship before getting help. John Gottman

The real cradle that holds the baby is the emotional climate between new parents. Many significant social problems (like violence) in our society can be traced back to this negative emotional climate in families. John Gottman

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the pictures and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

If you purchase an item through the Amazon.ca link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon.ca affiliate program.

See all 3 images

What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal Paperback – Sep 10 2013

by John Gottman Ph.D. (Author), Nan Silver (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 207 ratings


 See all 13 formats and editions

Marriage is a long conversation. Do we know what our partner wants out of the next thirty years? Do we know what we want?

Do we know what our partner wants out of the next thirty years? Do we know what we want? Marriage is a long conversation.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Marriage is a risk; I think it’s a great and glorious risk, as long as you embark on the adventure in the same spirit. Cate Blanchett

Yesterday I watched Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter Chelsea on the view. They’ve written a book called Gutsy Women and Hillary says the gutsiest thing she has done is stay in her marriage.

I’ve always thought that was very gutsy of her. We all expected her to divorce him. We will never know how hard that was, but the look on her face as she said it made me believe she believes she did the right thing.

Getting married and staying married is a gutsy thing. It is important in this life to love and be loved, that doesn’t mean it is easy to have twenty, thirty, forty, fifty or sixty-year marriages.

Yesterday I also watched Dog, The Bounty Hunter talking to Dr. Oz about his late wife Beth. Nietzsche, the German philosopher (who was a lifelong bachelor) said, “Marriage is a long conversation.”

A long conversation is a good way to put it, someone in our corner, a soft place to fall, someone who has our back, who believes in the best of us. Someone who sees us at our worst and still loves us accepts us and believes in us. We are told that those of us who remain married over the long haul will usually be happier because of it.

A happy marriage is about three things: memories of togetherness, forgiveness of mistakes and a promise to never give up on each other. Surabhi Surendra

I’m not sure what is the year when we start thinking we’re in a long marriage. To me, I think it was around the thirty-year mark. We have reached the stage where we need to think about what we want the rest of our life to be like.

Do we have a bucket list? If we don’t maybe we should make one? We may think things are too expensive to do? But, what is the cost of not doing them and thinking we are missing out? This may be one of the causes of the gray divorce phenomenon. We have a fantasy that if we lose a few pounds life will be better, some people may fantasize about divorce the same way. Wherever we go, there we are. Some people may have a fantasy that life would be better without their partner. It is probably not true.

We are told we are happier and healthier in long marriages. Do we need to make some changes? We may need to have some long, intense conversations while we figure out what we want out of the next twenty, thirty, or more years.

The best way forward is probably together. We would make changes in our life if something cataclysmic happened, we don’t need to initiate a cataclysm to initiate change. Maybe the changes we want in our life will start with a long conversation. Are we ready to initiate the conversation that leads to more fun, excitement, adventure, love, and togetherness?

Love does not mean you will always agree, see eye to eye, or never have an argument. It means despite the bad days you still can’t see yourself without that person. Unknown

A great marriage is not the union of the perfect couple, but an imperfect couple who accepts and embraces each other’s flaws. Unknown

A great marriage doesn’t happen because of the love you had in the beginning but how well you continue building love until the end. Unknown

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

If you purchase an item through the Amazon.ca link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon.ca affiliate program.

See all 4 images

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love Hardcover – Apr 8 2008

by Dr. Sue Johnson EdD (Author) 4.4 out of 5 stars 122 ratings#1 Best Seller in Marriage & Family


 See all 15 formats and editions

Complaining is communication. Contempt is sulfuric acid in relationships.

Contempt is sulfuric acid in relationships. Complaining is communication.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Behind every complaint is a deep personal longing. Dr. John Gottman

Over the weekend we watched The Marriage Story on Net flicks. It is a cautionary tale of a couple separating and not planning to use lawyers but when the wife gets a lawyer the husband must also. Mudslinging starts and in the end, they’ve spent a lot of money, hurt each other and said things that can never be taken back, but basically have the divorce they could have had if they sat at the kitchen table like adults and agreed on custody and property division.

It is easy to see how we want someone on our side, who sees things how we see them, but it comes at a heavy cost. Some relationships are beyond repair, ending them with as little hurt and vitriol especially if there are children should be everyone’s goal.

Fractured relationships are always sad. Unmet expectations are probably why the marriage is in trouble in the first place. One of the things we have to do in life is to deal with reality.

We are who we are, and our partner is who they are, wishing we or they were different is not helpful. Becoming the best we can be, and helping them be the best, and not dwelling on the negative may be the hardest thing we do. The things we liked about our partner are still there even if we don’t acknowledge them. The Marriage Story starts out with each spouse reading a list they’ve written about the good things about their partner. They are to read it aloud in front of their partner at a mediation session. The wife refused to read hers, and storms out of the office.

She was probably thinking if I have all this good stuff to say about him and we are splitting up that doesn’t make sense. That’s what you do when you are staying together, not dealing with the issues, and stepping around the elephant in the room.

Some people will never separate, and they also will never solve their problems but live bitter, lonely lives, together. This seems worse, but they are enduring to the end.

In The Marriage Story, it always seems they have enough going for them as a couple including a young son, that they could have reconciled and lived a good life. The husband seems bewildered how they actually ended up in this situation, even though he succumbed to an affair after living in a sexless marriage for a year.

You don’t have to be interesting. You have to be interested. Dr. John Gottman

When communication breaks down what are we left with? When this happens in a relationship it is often called stonewalling. How do we thaw this freeze in our relationships? Even though they worked together they couldn’t sort it out and when she left to go across the country for an opportunity, it was over.

We think people should be better than they are, we think we should be better than we are. Everyone is capable of hurting someone; we are all capable of selfish actions. We are all capable of pretending to ourselves and others that things are better than they are. Do we all need a dose of radical honesty? What if we tell the truth to those we love? We also have to be willing to hear the truth back, but at least then don’t we have something to work with?

If we say we aren’t getting a lawyer involved. Having someone served with divorce papers when they come to visit their wife and son at her mother’s house seems like blindsiding someone on an unimaginable level.

If you get a chance, watch the movie. It is a conversation starter if not about our own relationship then about relationships in general. Isn’t more communication better than less communication? Blindsiding someone seems unfair. We may not think we are blindsiding someone when we bring up something that is bothering us, but they may feel blindsided.

In Dr. John Gottman’s 10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage, he tells us we need to be able to hear our partner’s anger, resentment, and disappointment, and they need to hear ours. When we are expressing our anger, resentment, and disappointment we should focus on our own feelings and express these feelings in ways that are not critical, hostile, blaming, or contemptuous. The more we listen to our partner, and they listen to us, the more we can work through our feelings.

The more we feel our feelings and deal with them the more likely we are to get through the stages of marriage that often lead to divorce. Dr. John Gottman says complaining but not criticizing is good for our marriage. Our partner needs to understand how we feel, what we want, what we find disappointing, what changes we would like to make.

What if more complaining (but not criticizing) is a change we should make to strengthen our marriage?

The four horsemen of the apocalypse predict an ailing marriage: criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt. The worst of these is contempt. Dr. John Gottman

We have found that the success or failure of marriage depends not on whether there is conflict, but on how conflict is handled when it does occur. The Gottman Laboratory Studies

In order to get to a healthier and more productive place, we need to give up our fear of conflict, turmoil and resistance. Dr. John Gottman

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

If you purchase an item through the Amazon.ca link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon.ca affiliate program.

See this image

Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage: America’s Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies for Strengthening Your Relationship Paperback – Jun 26 2007

by John Gottman PhD (Author), Julie Schwartz Gottman (Author), Joan DeClaire (Author) 4.0 out of 5 stars 9 ratings


 See all 12 formats and editions

Smile more, laugh more, live fully, and love deeply. You never know when it’s the last time you can tell someone “I love you.”

You never know when it's the last time you could tell someone I love you. Smile more, laugh more, live fully, and love deeply.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Take time to do what makes your soul happy. Unknown      

Do we have enough lightness and fun in our lives? Are we too serious? Does everything someone says feel wrong and hit a sore spot? Would we all be better off if we said “Ouch” when someone says something that hurts, or comes out wrong?

Maybe that would be a good way to acknowledge their awkwardness, ignorance, bias, or put down without getting into an argument. Maybe “Ouch” is the way to handle criticism instead of getting defensive.

Laura Doyle is the author of several books including The Empowered Wife and Things Will Get As Good As You Can Stand. She has a few ideas I think are worth thinking about.

One of them which at first glance may make our feminist soul wince is to surrender, which means to give up trying to control everything, and speak only for our self. Ask for what we want. Focus on ourselves, and don’t belittle, criticize, or dismiss our partner. Realize the only person we can change is our self. Quit trying to teach our partner, and instead trust he is smart, capable, and motivated.

There is a Christian minister who gives talks on “Treating him like a dog, and her like a car.” His idea is that women often treat their dogs better than their men, have more patience with their dog’s mistakes than their husband’s human foibles. Men polish their car; take care of their car, and lavish attention on their car.

If you’re going to quit anything, quit being lazy, quit making excuses and quit waiting for the right time. Unknown

We need to give more to get more in relationships. We need to be willing to receive what are partner gives with grace and gratitude. Are we still making an effort to be fun, entertaining, good company, and loving?

If it is true that 70% of divorces are initiated by women? That means we women have a lot of power to make our marriages better. It might mean instead of giving up because the fire has gone out, we could choose to rekindle instead of throwing everything away we’ve built.

Laura Doyle tells us men want a happy wife, and they feel like failures when their wife is not happy. What would it take for us women to be happy? If the biggest improvement we can make in our marriage is to become happy, what is the change we could make? Laura Doyle says we should do three things every day that make us happy.

What are three things we could do that would make us happy? Go for a walk. Pet a dog, cat, bunny, or horse? Meet a girlfriend for coffee, or lunch? Meet our husband for coffee, or lunch? Call someone we haven’t spoken to in a while. Spend time with grandchildren if we are lucky enough to have some. Get time away from our children if we are lucky enough to have them. Spend an hour browsing in a store we love. Read a book. Write a poem. Write in a journal. Spend time with inspiring people at a group, event, or meeting. Spend time getting in tune with our body through exercise. Create something. Get our hair done. Do something for someone less fortunate.

If we are not happy, it is unlikely it is only because of our marriage. We may think our life needs a huge overhaul when what it really needs is some maintenance. Are we taking time to smell the flowers, enjoying everything there is to enjoy and grateful for the bounty in our lives? Have we checked our partner’s and our love tanks are they low, are they running on empty? What can we do to fill them up?

It is easy to think the grass is greener over there, someone else’s life is so much better than our own. If only our partner would become, do, change, improve, but of course, if we want a better life we must be the one that does, changes, and improves.

What three things could we do today to make ourselves happy? What can we do today to make life better for our partners? Can we at least smile more, and brighten everyone’s day including our own?

Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated. Confucius

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

If you purchase an item through the Amazon.ca link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon.ca affiliate program.

See all 2 images

Things Will Get as Good as You Can Stand: (. . . When you learn that it is better to receive than to give) The Superwoman’s Practical Guide to Getting as Much as She Gives Paperback – Apr 6 2004

by Laura Doyle (Author) 4.7 out of 5 stars 4 ratings


 See all 7 formats and editions

Ambivalence is not a good thing. Don’t we need to know where we are going, where we’ve been, and what we want to accomplish next? Can we make a decision and stand behind it?

Don't we need to know where we are going, where we've been, and what we want to accomplish next? Can we make a decision and stand behind it? Ambivalence is not a good thing.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There is no challenge strong enough to destroy your marriage as long as you are both willing to stop fighting against each other and start fighting for each other. Unknown

Looking at books at Value Village on the weekend I saw a book Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum. I didn’t buy it, but I’ve been thinking about what it says. My husband and I even had a conversation about it. We all know people who have left marriages we thought good enough to stay in and stayed in bad marriages we thought they should have left.

We need to do soul searching to know which kind of marriage we are in. The soul searching should have been done before the marriage, but often people do things trying to make a bad relationship better. They get married when they should break up, they have a child when they should break up, and they buy a house when they should break up. For whatever reason, they keep doing things to make it better, but if it was never good, it is not likely to ever get good.

This is a hard truth and we should look at hard truths during our lives. In Toastmaster’s we have something called “Moments of Truth.” In “Moments of Truth” we are to take a good look at our clubs and see what needs to be changed and improved. We need to do the same with our relationships.

In the book, the author talks about a man who is not happy, and when he sees his friend get a divorce he gets one too. He is still not happy; the girls he’d like to date aren’t interested in him. The visits with his kids he thought would be fun are boring, the kids miss their friends, their stuff, and constant fun isn’t as much fun as he thought and a lot more expensive. He realizes he made a big mistake, but it’s done.

A strong marriage requires two people who choose to love each other even on the days when they struggle to like each other. Unknown

Another woman was in a relationship where they were carefree and her partner starts a business and becomes a businesswoman with all that entails. The relationship isn’t good and hasn’t been good, but because the businesswoman makes a lot of money and the partner doesn’t, she stays. Until one day while helping a woman find a place to live she realizes she too could afford her own place with a little better job.

If we stay for the wrong reasons or leave for the wrong reasons we haven’t made things better. We need to be able to figure out when to hold on and when to fold. We need to do this in other areas of our life as well. Why are we so hesitant to take a good look at what we like about our lives, and what we don’t. As Dr. Phil says we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. Even after taking a good hard look at our life we may not see how to change it. There are things we can do even if it is only an attitude adjustment.

I keep telling my friends that the men looking our way are in their seventies and eighties. A couple I know of just got divorced. She was fifty and he had to be at least seventy-five when they got married. I don’t know her; I liked him as a grandfatherly person in my kid’s lives. Husband material for a fifty-year-old, I don’t think so.

Ambivalence in life isn’t good. We can stay stuck forever if we aren’t courageous enough to make a decision. One of the questions the author asks is: In spite of your problems, do you and your partner have even one positively pleasurable activity or interest (besides children) that you currently share and look forward to sharing in the future, something you do together that you both like that gives both of you a feeling of closeness for awhile? Would you say that to you, your partner is basically nice, reasonably intelligent, not too neurotic, okay to look at, and most of the time smells alright?

In the book The New I Do Reshaping Marriage for Sceptics, Realists, and Rebels by Susan Pease Gadoua co-written with Vicki Larson the authors talk about other marriage models than the “Love” marriage. Starter marriage, companionship marriage, parenting marriage, living alone together, safety marriage, covenant marriage and open marriage.  The author’s belief is that many people need to tailor their marriage to their own needs. If marriage is going to survive it needs to meet the two members’ needs, or at least most of those needs. What if one of the things we have to decide in our marriage is what our needs are? What if those needs change over time?

Marriage was at one time based on survival, procreation, property, and wealth. Now that we’ve made it all about “Love” we often find it can’t deliver as promised. Are we making the mistake of thinking marriage is only about love, and not realizing a good marriage is about so much more than just “Feeling in Love”. Dr. John Gottman talks about the Good Enough Marriage, this is what we should be after even though it wasn’t what most of us aspired to when we said: “I Do”. If after many, many years we have a “Good Enough” marriage we have achieved something worthwhile. A “Good Enough” marriage is not a bad marriage, if we have a “Good Enough” marriage, looking for a better partner is unlikely to get us what we might want a “Perfect Marriage” because they don’t exist.

Can we create a “Good Enough” marriage out of the one we have?

If you want to have a great marriage. You need to be humble enough to ask yourself, what changes do I need to make. Unknown

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

If you purchase an item through the Amazon.ca link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon.ca affiliate program.

See all 4 images

Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship Paperback – Jul 1 1997

by Mira Kirshenbaum (Author) 4.5 out of 5 stars 62 ratings


 See all 19 formats and editions

Take a chance on love. Our hearts may be broken but that is part of living. Isn’t not taking a chance the worse option?

Our hearts may be broken but that is part of living. Isn't not taking a chance a worse option? Take a chance on love.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

It is a risk to love. What if it doesn’t work out? Ah, but what if it does. Peter McWilliams

If you are afraid to take a chance. Take one anyway. What you don’t do can create the same regrets as the mistakes you make. Unknown

In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make. Unknown

No matter what we set out to do in life, in our day, in our family, or in our occupation. We have to find the time to do it. There are things in our life that everything else fits around. Many of us may not have known how children would fit into our lives but everything else fits around our children. Our jobs are the same.

For many years it seemed we had work and kids, and everything revolved around them. We have to carve out time for other things if we want a rounder life. Sometimes all we can do is manage the three things on our plate, and if that is where we are we have to know, this too shall pass. If we enjoy each of the seasons of our life and know that what is central in our life now, may not be at the forefront in a few years we can plan and live our lives with grace.

My daughter and I had a conversation yesterday. As all young couples do they would like their own house, and they are talking about starting a family. I told her only one of those has a best before date.

Having children for some is hard, and affording children is hard for many. How did we get here? We didn’t use to have a choice. When we got married children came or did not come, there wasn’t much we could do about it. Now we have control of when we want to have children, and how many but that means we have to make a decision. Decision making isn’t our strong suit all the time.

You can’t go through life protecting yourself from everything. You have to take chances. Because if you don’t, then you might as well not be living. Unknown

Time flies by fast, and if we are waiting for better economic times before we start a family we may wait a long time. If we wait too long we may need help, but that doesn’t work out very well for many.

If there is a more wonderful time in life than when we start a family I don’t know when that would be. All the stages of life are to be savored, but that stage was really great. When I see young families out together I smile and remember how great it was when our children were young. It is great now too, but children bring energy to life and hearing children’s laughter is a joy.

Children walk past our door on the way to school laughing and playing. I love that the street we live on is a street where children walk to school and we can hear them playing in the schoolyard.

Life with a family is not neat and tidy. If it is our lot in life to have a family we are blessed. If it is our lot in life to have grandchildren we are doubly blessed and if we have great-grandchildren triply blessed. Children are our future and whatever sacrifices we make for them are worth it.

If we take a chance on love, any kind of love our hearts may be broken. Not choosing love is missing out on life. We may feel we are protecting ourselves by not letting others in, and then we can’t be hurt. But isn’t not feeling so much worse than opening ourselves up to love and the possibility of being hurt?

If you take a chance, good things might happen or bad things might happen. But if you don’t take a chance, nothing happens. Prakhar Sahay

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe is you must but take the step. Unknown

It is a risk to love. What if it doesn’t work out? Ah, but what if it does. Peter McWilliams

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

If you purchase an item through the Amazon.ca link I receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon.ca affiliate program.

Only Love Today: Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love by [Stafford, Rachel Macy]
Kindle App Ad

Follow the Author

Rachel Macy Stafford+ Follow

Only Love Today: Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love Kindle Edition

by Rachel Macy Stafford (Author)

4.0 out of 5 stars    13 ratings

 See all 7 formats and editions

Rekindling love, falling in love with the same person over, and over again.

Falling in love with the same person over, and over again. Rekindling love.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart. Helen Keller

What an honor it is when we celebrate with happy couples declaring their vows to each other. When it’s a couple that finds each other after many years and completes what seems the circle of their lives with I Do it seems more special. Now as they start out as Mr. & Mrs. to the delight of all who have known them through the trials and tribulations of life our hearts are gladdened, and we believe more strongly in the power of love.

Such was our day, yesterday. The officiate said his view of love is we have “natural love” with the families we are born into. We have “unnatural love” with those we chose to love. It is a selfish love when we chose to love someone because it is about how they make us feel. This is the love we have to tend to, we have to continue to do what makes them feel drawn to us, and they will hopefully keep doing what drew us to them. 

This is the love that goes through the cycles of marriage. As a speaker on a Ted Talk said, some of us have many marriages; some of us have these marriages with the same person. As we go through the cycles in marriage we fall in love again, and again, hopefully with the same person.

Yesterday speaking to a friend she said a friend’s parents were in ill health. They didn’t want to live without each other, they couldn’t take care of each other, and they didn’t want to be cared for by others. One had cancer, one had heart problems, they chose to petition for euthanasia. They had a family celebration where everyone came together, said their goodbyes, and a doctor injected them and they peacefully said goodbye to the world lying in their bed, holding hands.

Our love stories must end, it seems like a good ending to me. When we go as far as we can with our love story and both are ready to exit this life, exiting together seems better. An aunt and uncle of mine exited about two weeks apart. Would they have preferred the choice to leave together?

Love always cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. Karl Menninger

If we can love each other in the beauty of youth, the challenges that come with raising children or just building a life, the challenges of getting old, the ups and downs life inevitably brings, and the push and pull of romantic attraction. If we enjoy the deeper beauty of our partner as surface beauty fades, we will have lived with all that marriage brings.

Rekindling love after years apart or in a marriage means focusing on each other. Sometimes we need to recognize love is a verb, and actively love each other every day, not just love each other when we feel like it.

If we can respect each other, love each other, and treat each other with kindness and appreciation every day. We may need to learn what respect looks like to each other, we may need to learn each other’s love languages so when we are trying to give them love we do it in a way they respond to. We need to accept and appreciate our partners how they are, not how we may wish they were. We may need to appreciate and accept ourselves. We are good enough to deserve love, our partner is good enough to deserve love, and if we once had a wonderful loving relationship we can probably, if we really want to, have that again.

Are we living in the fullness of love?

The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Morrie Schwartz

If you keep giving up on people so quickly, you’re gonna miss out on something great. Robin, from How I Met Your Mother

Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time. Maya Angelou

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

To subscribe, comment, see archives or categories of posts click on the picture and scroll to the end. Please subscribe, comment, and share.

If you purchase an item through the Amazon.ca link I may receive a small percentage of the sale through the Amazon.ca affiliate program.

See all 3 images

The 5 Love Languages Paperback – Jan 1 2015

by Gary Chapman (Author) 4.7 out of 5 stars 593 ratings#1 Best Sellerin Marriage


 See all 45 formats and editions