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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Letter To My Younger Married Self – A 7,000 Mile Journey For Love.

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To my 23 year old Barbara,
Congratulations! Tomorrow you will celebrate your wedding in Qingtongxia, China. You will have one sister, a handful of friends, a hundred or so new relatives, and 20,000 villagers on hand to share in your joy. It will be covered by national news media and bring instant fame to your in-laws, who can count on one hand the number of foreigners they’ve ever seen in person (most of them from this week!)
In a few months, you’ll double own on the love and get married again; this time surrounded by all seven sisters, plus 200 extended family members and friends in the U.S. You’ll have traded your red wedding dress for a long white gown (those puffy sleeves will forever say 1991!) and the humble rural courtyard for a glitzy hotel with a view of the New York skyline. Your husband will know only three people present.
In the short time between weddings, you will have moved from rural China to suburban America. It will mark the beginning of a lifetime of adventure that will include (spoiler alert) living in three different countries and raising two exceptional daughters, who will serve as testament to this marriage. You’re marrying outside your race, religion, native tongue and passport country; yet over the years you’ll managed to not let these define your marriage. Over the next 25 years, together you’ll strengthen and enhance the union of your two unique and complementary personalities.
Despite this rosy picture from the future, I’ll share a few things to consider as you embark on your journey.
Study Chinese
.
Yes, you already speak Chinese, but really make a concerted academic effort to learn to not
only speak and understand, but to read and write at a deeper level. The snowball effect of
studying a mere 30 minutes each week over 25 years will yield fluency you can’t even
imagine today. Flash cards and work books will suffice in the beginning, but it will get easier and more convenient with the advent of internet and podcasts. It will fulfill your
relationships with in-laws and extended family. You’ll be better equipped to have meaningful conversations with more people who know your groom but aren’t bilingual. You will not need to rely on him to translate.
Consider keeping your maiden name
Don’t run on autopilot. Take the time to contemplate the decision by recalling what you
bring, as an individual, into the marriage. If you adopt his name, anticipate what you’ll need to maintain your sense of self. Don’t lose your identity in the titles wife or mother. Fear not, your love of great white sharks and trampolines play a prominent role in your 49 year old life, but you will have a child who graduates from college before you go back for your master’s degree. Take time for yourself. It is not being selfish.
 
Schedule date nights
Observe them religiously. Give them the same priority you give to your daughters’ swim
practice schedule. Be more creative than dinner and a movie. Consider alternating turns
planning a surprise outing or activity for the appointed time. Remember that simplicity is
highly underrated. He’s more sentimental than he lets on. Similarly, schedule daddy-
daughter time. Give him time and space to develop his own relationship with your
children. Let him parent in his own style.
Don’t be a nag
He will respect and value your decision to delay a career to stay home with the children.
Recognize, however, that he will bear a self- imposed pressure as the sole bread winner.
Go easy on him as he transitions between jobs, and negotiates benefits for your
international assignments. (Yes, you’ll be back in China to raise your children.)
As you celebrate tomorrow, take a good look around. There are many faces that will continue to be present as you celebrate future milestones. There are some who will join your journey further down the road. There are others who will only be here briefly. That adorable 7 year old nephew who is dying for a ride in your wedding carriage will come to live in your home, and become a brother to your daughters. A second nephew will round out your household. Be patient and show grace.
Tonight, you are blinded by love. You cannot comprehend the enormity of his devotion. He is leaving his family, friends, and country behind for you. For You. He will always have your back. And you will always hold his heart. So tomorrow, and every day after: Engage. Say YES. Take more pictures. They will document for future generations the story of the couple who loved each other enough to say “I do” twice.
Love,
The 49 year old Barbara.
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Letter to My Younger Married Self – The Best Things are Sometimes Surprises.

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Dear 28 year old Lani,

You didn’t marry the man of your dreams. He is the one you’ve prayed for and he’ll surprise at some times. The vows you make today will be tested every day and you will learn the meaning of integrity through your commitment to each other. You had 5 years to learn about him but it’ll be like anew as your husband, so be fair and forgiving. Don’t overthink nor be self-conscious. He will love you selflessly and always be the first to apologize because he can’t stand seeing you disappointed. He cherishes you that much.

You will be reminded to appreciate every moment together and not to take each other for granted. So don’t. Even at moments of disagreements and when you think you’re right. Every year will go by quick, even faster with a child. You will raise the most precious boy together who will fill your life with joy and drama. Yet, you will always find time to keep that fire burning because after all that you do, you’re still alive. He will worry about you, cry with you, get frustrated, grieve, want you, be challenged in his habits and pray for you more than ever. And you will do the same with all of your soul. You will love each other through it because it is all worth it. It will not be easy but nothing neither of you can’t handle without God and community of friends who truly love you.

Enjoy this day. Though it might seem as part of your bigger life “plans”, you are making the right choice with this man. You will love each other more with each passing day. Trust and believe that you will need it. Hold him up. Hold it down. Don’t know what the years to come will bring but he will be all the man you need. Love it all.

Still very much in love,

34 year old Lani

 

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Letter to My Younger Married Self – Even if I Don’t Know It!

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Dear (Twenty-Two year old) Rab,
You are loving and wise beyond your years. At twelve years old, you told me that I would be your wife
one day. That really scared me to death. How does someone so young, know about this type of love.
I was certainly no expert. But you told me, “I have seen it from my parents and grandparents. I know
what I want.”
So I decided to give it a shot. Everything was going great, until I turned 14. I started to mature and folks
began to notice especially the boys. You realized they were starting to notice, so you broke up with me,
thinking I better do it now before I have a reason and there is no way we can get back together. That was
another wise move. Even though we would date off and on, after the break-up, I needed to be
unencumbered until I was ready.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t capture the magic, I had with you. I tried! While still in high school, I met and
was engaged to another man. I even had a child with him, but in the end, it didn’t last.
So off I went to work in Boston, MA. We will still remain good friends, but in my heart, I knew something
was missing. You would feel it too. That’s why you will come and romance me.
After that, things will get really serious. At the age of 20, we will have a child and ultimately you will ask
me to marry you.
Well, today is that day. It’s our joyous wedding day and all of our friends and family have gathered here,
before God to bless this union. We both still have a lot of maturing to do however, true love and life
awaits us. We will learn and grow together.
I want to thank you for your solid work ethic and extraordinary ability to love me through any trial. As
we go through our marriage journey, please keep encouraging me to continue my education because it
will benefit our entire family. Thanks for allowing me learn the Truth about our God, Jehovah and share
it with everyone that I know and love.
Pour as much love and effort into yourself as you do others. I know that your high energy will infect our
home. Whether you are in a small apartment or large home, you are guaranteed to host loving
gatherings with family and friends. Our game nights with the kids will be awesome. Please plan on us
attending plenty of sporting events, Broadway shows, amusement parks and music concerts. You’ll have
Princess, Ninja Turtles, Power Ranger, and tea parties. Be ready for debates and open and honest
communication.
You’re a great listener now but you will hone your skills. You develop super powers to listen and process
information. For example, when you are busy eating, resting, watching TV, or playing a video game, you
manage to hear me. In fact, you can hear everyone in the room who is talking to you (your son, two
daughters and me). When I ask you what I just said you’ll recount each simultaneous conversation
succinctly.
When you are in good health, use your knowledge and abilities to accumulate genuine relationships and
not just material wealth. When your health is waning, may you be able to garner strength from your
loving strong bonds, support team, and family. We are the generation that our parents and
grandparents rely on, so thank you for your loving care and patience with them. The children are
watching you so, I’m glad that they love and respect your fine example as a doting husband and father.
May you be able to say that you lived out your dreams with the one that you love more than air. Plan
and budget your money wisely. Travel often. Go on vacation with the entire family and then take a trip
as a couple at least every two years. Maintain your love and strong marriage and it will prove to be a
blessing and protection to you. Just know that when your heart is full of love, you’ll have grandchildren
to make your heart and cup overflow.
Thank You for believing in me, even though I didn’t know it, right away!
I love you my Love!
Rhonda Harrison
 

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3 Reasons Why Complementary Strengths Create The Power Couple!

Yen and Yang! Salt and Pepper! Beyoncé and Jay-Z!

In order to be a power couple, it’s critical that you find a partner with complementary strengths. We often feel either are partners should be happy you married them. Like they need you more than you need them. Even worse, that you can carry the marriage all by yourself with enough determination and perseverance.

Those thoughts are myths. Your complementary strengths can be the most dynamic part of your marriage, but you must make sure you do these three things.

Truly understand their strengths – It’s not enough to know that your partner is different, you must rely on those differences to move your marriage forward.

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Acknowledge their strengths – By putting your partner in a position where they use their strengths helps maximize their ability and helps them have their needs satisfied.

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Leverage their strengths – resist the temptation to resent your partners strengths especially during times of conflict. They must be accepted and used as much as possible.

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In the end, you and your partner have weaknesses and blind spots that can create challenges to having a great marriage. If your partner’s strengths can show you the light or help avoid or remove the obstacles it makes the marriage journey that much sweeter.

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What are your partner’s strengths?

If you are having trouble identifying or acknowledging your partner’s strengths, I would love to hear from you. Give me a shout at info@strive2succeedcoaching.com for a free 30-minute consultation.

 

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in In the Trenches

 

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S2S QOTD – Couple Time!

 

Studies show that those who maintained their love for each other scheduled time to be together almost every day have better communication, solidifies commitment and it offers an exciting way to de-stress. While their daily time together varied, the time they end each week was almost always over fifteen hours. What do you think?

I would love to hear your thoughts?  How much couple time is needed with your spouse in order to add value to your relationship?

If you would like to share a great story, please do so at info@strive2succeedcoaching.com

 

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2017 in iLoveStrong QoTD, Uncategorized

 

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Letter to My Younger Married Self – Choosing to Live.

Dear 24-year-old Ann,

You are getting married. There are so many things you wanted to do. But did you?

You should have eaten out more. At fancy restaurants, with waiters, and candles. And silverware. Instead of Panera and the drive-thru Subway.

But you shouldn’t have stopped at chow. You should have gone ballooning, ridden on sailboats, speedboats, and maybe taken a helicopter or two.

You and your husband should have jumped out of an airplane while the baggage you carried still fit on your backs. You should have driven to the mountains more to hike or ski, or stood dangerously close to the rocky crags and worried about only yourselves.

You should have forgotten work and clients and jumped on airplanes. To Costa Rica! To Australia! Egypt and China! Of course you wouldn’t have been able to afford it, not with the one-bedroom apartment that you lived in. But you shouldn’t have worried so much. You should have charged it. At least one trip, because it would be many years before you had the energy and the freedom to do it again.

But if you weren’t going to travel, there were local things that you should have done. You should have gone to museums, opera houses, and even salsa dancing. You should have purchased white furniture and carpet to match.

But instead, you focus on being a mom. The feedings, the diaper changes, the lack of sleep and those everyday things that screamed parenthood.

Instead of museums there will be PTA meetings.

Instead of nights at highly Zagat rated restaurants, there will be playdates at Chuck E. Cheese.

Instead of movie nights out with your husband, there will be Netflix nights asleep on the couch.

There will be a point midway through your life where you will ask questions. “Am I even myself?” “Have I loaned out my life just for others to use until I take it back?”

You won’t want to take that long. You will decide that even though your kids need you, you want to live NOW! For you! For your husband! For your daughters! They need the whole Ann.

So take your six-year-old and two-year-old to see a play. You will get the side-eye from strangers, but so what?

In the car, listen to Katy Perry or Hamilton, instead of endless hours of Radio Disney. Why? Because you are a grown-up and that’s what grown-ups do!

In the years to come, you will do more than just hope. You will live. And while you are living, what a blessing it will be to have the people you love along for the ride.

Sincerely,

43-year-old Ann

 

 

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