Over the next few days, you are going to hear commercials on the types of gifts you can buy your wife for Mother’s Day; From Shari’s Berries to Every gift begins with Kay you will be inundated with those last-minute gift ideas.
Whatever item, you buy your spouse, it will be next impossible to compete with the hand-made, stick-figured cards or the wonderful Mother’s Day celebration at your kid’s school.
Your wife may not always be looking for just a gift from you. According to Willard Harley’s book His Needs, Her Needs, admiration is considered one of the essential needs for a strong marriage. In fact your spouse may have fallen in love with you partly because of your compliments to her. Your wife may just love to be told that they are appreciated.
Many of us have a deep desire to be respected, valued and appreciated by our spouse. We need to be affirmed clearly and often. It doesn’t take a lot of money to let your wife know how important she is to you.
So for Mother’s Day I have created an opportunity to do just that and have fun with it.It’s called the 5 for $5 Admiration Challenge. It’s an opportunity to show your wife how special she is to you without spending lots of money. The object of the challenge is to find 5 symbols that represent characteristics that you admire about your spouse, but you can only spend $5 for the entire exercise, i.e. I used a lightbulb to represent the fact that I admired my wife for her intelligence.
I recently performed this exercise for the Jack-n-Jill’s Father Appreciation dinner. The husbands loved it, one because it was a surprise and two because their wives’ words came from the heart. In fact, the wive’s of the Jack and Jill Chapter of Long Island loved it more.
I hope I am got your creative juices flowing because this Mother’s Day will be memorable the more thought you put into it.
If your are a mother, or a wife, share this with your husbands. I would love to hear what they come up with. Over the course of the week I will share the 5 things I admire about my wife.
In part 3 of 5 Lessons about your marriage kids learn by your example has to deal with respect.
In order for your children to learn about respect from you, respect has to be a part of your daily life, and must show up in all areas of your life. Your children will understand the importance of respect by adhering to these principles:
- You must have an outward plus an inward respect for people.
- You must show respect to your wife, plus your father and mother.
- You must show respect to the family pet(s).
- You must continue to show respect to your teen children, even though they may show disrespect to you.
- You must respect the differences of your children and show them that these differences are important to making the family function effectively
- You must respect the special gifts and talents of your children, try not cater, or favor one child’s strengths over the other and put them in the best positions to be successful.
The question for the day is “How has the issue of respect been a challenge when it comes to raising your children.”
Today is a special day! Not only is it Dr. Martin Luther King’s Holiday, but it’s also the public swearing in of our re-elected President Barack Obama. What both of these men have in common is their strong sense of families. So I decided to take some of Dr. King’s favorite quotes and apply them to relationships. I had to take liberty with a few and add my own spin to it. I hope you enjoy.
“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
On Understanding your partner:
“One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right when the head is totally wrong”
On the State of your Marriage:
“It does not matter how long your marriage lives, but how well you do it.”
“The ultimate measure of a marriage is not where it stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
On Connecting with your spouse:
“Whatever affects one spouse directly, affects all indirectly. You can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
“The quality not the longevity, of one’s marriage is what is important.”
On Success in Marriage:
“There is no gain without struggle.”
“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way”
Don Miguel Ruiz in his book talks about how our lives are based on a dream and our dream is made up of emotions. The two main emotions we possess in dreams are fear and love. Most of us live on the track of fear rather than love. Living this way ultimately affects our choices and inhibit the mastery over our marriage. So how do you know if your relationship is based on the track of fear or the track of love.
Here are some clues:
Fear has a lot obligations vs. love with no obligations. We do something for our partner because we have to do it. We expect our partner to do something, but over time we begin to resist our obligations. In love, there is no resistance you do something for your partner because you want to do it.
Fear is full of expectations, love has no expectations. We do things because it’s a given, and we expect our partner to do the same. When those expectations don’t happen we feel hurt and we place the blame on our partners. In love, if nothing happens we don’t take it personally.
In fear you respect nothing, while in love is based on respect. Fear comes out in a couple of ways in regards to respect. If you don’t respect your partner, you will feel they can’t have a say in the relationship and you will try to control them. When you don’t respect yourself in the relationship, you doubt your own strength; your own intelligence. Love negates this type of behavior.
In you are on the track of fear, you are full of pity. You feel sorry for your partner when they aren’t strong enough. When you are on the track of love, you have compassion towards your partner if they fall. You prop them up.
On the track of fear you avoid responsibility. When you are on the track of love, you are responsible for your actions. When you try to avoid taking responsibility it only makes things worse because even non-action has consequences.
The track of fear is always unkind, while the track of love is kind. When you are living in a fear based relationship, you always feel like a victim, sad, jealous and betrayed. When you are in the track of love it’s always kind. The kindness makes you generous and opens doors to opportunities.
Fear is full of conditions, while love is unconditional. If you are on the track of fear, you will love the person if you are allowed to control them and if they fit into the image you create for them. In the track of love there are no conditions You will love your partner for who they are. If you don’t like them for who they are, you will find someone who is the way you like him/her to be.
Legend tells of an attractive young couple who boarded a train for the traditional honeymoon at Niagara Falls. That they were very much in love was apparent to all who saw them. Suddenly, the bride found herself hurling insults at her husband, and his rejoinders matched hers in bitterness and venom. Then she discovered a stranger sitting next to her whose presence had caused the transformation. “How did you get in here?” she gasped. “And who are you?” The stranger softly answered, “I’m Ten-years-from-now.”
Many marriages are under stresses that threaten to destroy them. The sweetness of the honeymoon has worn off, and the business of living has caused some abrasions. Paul understood these problems, and he spent much time admonishing husbands and wives. Here is his formula for a happy home and a lasting marriage.
There must be one leader in the home, and God ordained the man to be that. But the man has a spiritual obligation to deeply love his wife as his own body. Both are to cling to each other rather than side against each other with relatives. The admonition to love is so strong that Paul repeated it again and likened the husband-wife relationship to that of Christ and His church. In today’s prayer period, let us pray for a deeper love in our homes.
Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.
22-24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.
29-33 No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.
What do you think about this? Are you being treated well by your husband.? Do you feel honored by your wife?
I know you had a sigh of relief, when you read Connection Blockers – Part 1, and realized your action hadn’t created a wedge between you and your partner! From my last post, a connection blocker is someone who doesn’t really want to know and understand their partner.
- You use shutdown statements and behaviors. – When you are mad or hurt, these statements bring communication to a halt.
- “Fine” or “Everything’s fine” (when it’s not fine).
- “Doesn’t matter or Whatever“
- Give your partner the silent treatment.
- You shift the blame. – It’s your basic cause and effect argument. When your partners feelings are hurt, you react by saying it’s because of them. By choosing to use a counterattack on your partner shuts down any chance at connection.
- You use Sarcasm – Not only does it shut down the connection..It hurts.
- You use “You Always or “You Never” – these statements are general statements, but are not usually based on reality. Phrases like “You never listen to me” or “You always cut me off ” cause your partner to be confused. These statements tend help describe a feeling, but not the problem.
- You jump to your own experiences and don’t validate your partner’s issue. – Instead of just listening to your partner’s issues, you try to minimize the damage by bringing up your own. This connection blocker hangs your partner out to dry.
- You try to fix it. – Sometimes just listening is the fix.
- You use the “I’m just no good” statement. – this will cut off any chance at connecting with your partner. By playing the victim, your partner will almost always save you from your victim stance otherwise they admit to themselves they made a bad choice. Therefore, they negate their unresolved feelings.
Now that you understand connection blockers, look out for them. If you see they exist, it’s ok. Work with your partner to identify when either of you use these blockers so you can remove them and deepen your relationship.
Have you ever noticed when your partner started to tell you something important, but in the end never voiced what was on their mind. Or, after a very important discussion, all he/she ever did was shake their head in agreement, but never offered an opinion.
The reason is because you may be a connection blocker. A connection blocker is someone who doesn’t really want to know and understand their partner. Understanding your partner takes some key characteristics in order for connection to happen.
First you have to know yourself –what you think, want, desire, fear or want to communicate. Then you have to know how your spouse reacts to those same wants, fears and desires. You can only do that by asking the right questions.
So here is Part 1 of the possible connection blockers. Which one are you?
- You devalue your partner by saying things like “That’s not true,” or That’s totally crazy,” indicates that you don’t care about your partners feelings and that you are there to criticize and not connect.
- You minimize your partner – The “It’s not that bad.” statement is used to shut down your partner’s hope and that you will won’t understand. You may not feel the issue is as big a deal, but that’s not the issue right now. That’s where their heart is, connect around it.
- You get defensive with your partner – You try to fight off any attack that may bring any negative energy to you. When you attack, you are closed off from your partner and unwilling to hear anything about your behavior or attitude.
- You criticize or put down your partner– Being critical, when trying to build up your partner doesn’t work. Finding fault in your partner if it’s done for no good reason damages their self-esteem and ultimately damages your connection.
- You escalate or overreact with your partner – The more emotional the topic the more reactive and defensive you get. You must be aware of how your button(s) is get pushed and take alternative steps to remove yourself from the drama.
I would love to hear your comments about which connection blocker are you and how you try to minimize conflict.
Stay tuned to Part 2 of the connection blockers!
PG and I and the rest of the fam are trying to move. Our quaint, two-bedroom house in Northern NJ has become quite small for our family of 5 plus a dog and several tropical fish. We were ready to take the leap in 2008, but it was a blessing we stayed put. It was right before the financial crisis and it might have altered our lives forever.
Another reason we hadn’t lef is because all the work you have to put in to get a house ready to sell. It’s a lot like maintaining a healthy marriage.
Step #1 – Look for all the trouble spots.
When you decide you are going to allow other people to view your home, you must determine the little things that might deter a person from buying it. A broken light fixture, or bad lighting just might be the difference from someone liking your house. Your relationship is the same way. If you don’t step back and think about your appearance and how you present yourself to your spouse and communicate it may hold them back from experiencing true intimacy.
Step #2 – If you are committed, put the work in.
Put the work in and spruce it up. You can do simple things like changing the bedding, getting new curtains, and shower accessories to give your house a fresh new look. Relationships are no different. Sometimes you have to switch things up, in order to make it fresh. Things like going on a adventure, or to a different restaurant may go a long way to help foster a stronger relationship.
Step #3 – If things are really bad, bring in the contractor.
Sometimes the simple things aren’t enough, there are changes that need to be made that you can’t do by yourself. If you are still trying to maintain your daily routine of running a family and working, you can’t always take a step back and do the work necessary to make those changes. We needed a contractor. Relationships are no different. Relationships can be so bad, you may have to bring in a coach to strip away the bitterness, apathy and heartache that’s causing this relationship to not be at it’s best. He/she can help you put on a fresh coat of love, affection, communication and understanding toward your partner.
Step #4 – Maintenance, Maintenance and more Maintenance!
This is the hardest job of all. You never know when someone is going to want to see your house. So every morning your house has to look presentable. In relationships, you have to constantly check in with your partner and not take things for granted. I know stepping out of your comfort zone to get an assessment of your marriage can be a little unsettling. Don’t be afraid! You never know when something unexpected happens to change the course of your relationship. By having a strong bond with one another, you can weather those unforeseen circumstances.
Step #5 – Stay positive! It only takes one!
Despite all the progress and the work we have put in, it may take awhile to get an offer. We plan to stay positive and you should too. Your relationship may also progress slowly. Stay encouraged. As long as you are following the steps, the changes will come and your relationship will be stronger than ever before.
Strivers! Make it a great week.
I will keep you posted on the house.