It’s my anniversary!!

At the beginning of next week, I’ll get back to regular content. But I wanted to take time to celebrate love and the things I’ve learned over the years. Be patient, I am halfway through.

Tip #6

Your Spouse Should Be Your Best Friend.

This is not rocket science, however, this is not something that always happens before marriage (I’m proof). However, if there is anyone you should have the greatest relationship with-it is your spouse. If you celebrate news first, disclose pitfalls and setbacks with anyone other than your spouse- You are wrong!!! As you should be the number one supporter for your spouse, he/she should be this for you as well.

C121F676-6280-4147-BC6E-EBDE6BD4FAE2Going back to my last post, keeping people out of your business, if your spouse is your best friend, there’s less room for others to criticize, judge,  or have so much input in your life. When thinking of fun vacations, enjoying good dinners, movies and long talks with, who comes to mind? When you need to cry, who is the first person you will call? If there is something I wish someone would’ve told me, about marriage, it would’ve been: to always have a friendship inside your marriage. Some people won’t get that, I’ll try to break it down:

When you are dating, what is your aim? To get married, have kids? When you’re married, the goal is to stay married right? 😆 But nowhere in there is the goal of becoming and maintaining a good friendship. Ultimately the goal should be to become great friends first and marry your best friend. But if you’re backwards like me, ish doesn’t always happen that way! So while you are focusing on being a great wife or husband, also focus on being great friends. One of the things that has maintained my relationship, and others that I know, is that they just genuinely get along really well.

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Tip #5

Don’t Lose Yourself 

If you’ve read my post on What Makes a Successful Marriage, then you’ve read this tip before. If you haven’t, click the link below.

I have never been that person to always want to be “boo’d up.” I actually enjoy being alone. Over the course of these past 10 years, I learned that doing things independently is sometimes warranted. Now that can be as big as vacationing with your friends, to as small as visiting your family on the weekend or spending the day out of the house. But carving out time to “do you” is a necessity so you don’t lose yourself.

One common theme in divorces is at least one spouse saying “I don’t know who I am anymore.” We get married and focus on being a great spouse and a amazing parent, but what about YOU? Self care is a key factor in overall health and satisfaction in general.

Take care of yourself. Spend time alone, or hanging with friends. Allow yourself time to miss your spouse, and make up for it later.😜

What Makes a Marriage Successful?

 

Keeping People Out of Your Business!

There is this term we like to use in therapy: enmeshment. To be enmeshed is having an unhealthy sense of closeness where boundaries are not visible (learn this word). I grew up in a very enmeshed household and we were so close, still are, where knowing each other’s business was just sort of a way of protecting one another and keeping each other in the loop on our life. But let me tell you, that ish goes down hill really quick.  Living and speaking too freely with people about matters that don’t concern them, will effect your relationship to brink of divorce. When you allow people into your personal matters, you are giving them a right to inserting their opinion. There are certain friends that call me, and my response is “are you asking your friend, or a therapist?” Because sometimes, as friends and family, we want to be the protector but our judgments get in the way of the advice we give.

I am not saying not to have that trusted friend or parent that you go to. But just like you should pick your battles in your relationship, choose your disclosures wisely with those around you. Not everyone needs to know your business. This is probably the ONLY thing I got right from the very beginning lol.

When you think of talking to that certain someone about your marital woes, consider the following:

1. What is their relationship like?

2. How can he/she help me? If they can’t help offer positive insight, take your venting elsewhere. No need for a judgemental friend.

3. Can I trust this person?

 

Marriage tips continued~2 more days.

2/3: Accepting the Bad with the Good/Picking Your Battles

I referenced in the last post how rough the first years of marriage can be. Even though it is the honeymoon period, it is also an adjustment period as well. Another thing I learned during the first few years is accepting the good with the bad. I wanted everything to be perfect, and be that couple that never has any problems-no marriage will ever be like this. Yet, I figured mine would be the exception. I wanted to “fix” the bad things about him so much, that I forgot focus on the all the great things he brought to the relationship. After worrying, stressing and consistently trying to make him “perfect,” I neglected how amazing he was (still is). So what if your guy leaves the toilet seat up, has one beer a night after work, or if your wife leaves hair in the sink-will that be detrimental to your marriage….NO!

This is called nitpicking, and I was guilty. Did it hurt me, my kids, our finances, lifestyle, etc.? It didn’t. Ask yourself, how does him leaving the toilet seat up going to ruin my marriage? If this is the worst thing about your marriage, you just may have found a keeper.

I always tell my friends when they first enter a relationship: identify the negatives/red flags. Then ask yourself if they are deal breakers for you. This is how you learn, early on, if these actions will have a severe effect on your relationship in the future.

Pick your battles. Think before you speak. Ask yourself: is this conversation necessary, will it change the course of our marriage? Will it make our marriage better?

 

 

Anniversary Countdown ~9 days

I want to take you on a journey over then next week or so. As I am nearing my 10 year anniversary, I compiled 10 things I learned over the years. I am sure there is more than that, but as I was thinking, these are what came to mind first. As I take you on this journey, feel free to comment with your own experiences and advice-all is welcome.

Let’s start off with Patience 🤦🏾‍♀️

Patience is always easier said than done, right? Not everyone has it, not everyone wants it to be honest, because they understand how hard it is to attain. But if you reach this level of difficulty, it is half the battle. The first year of marriage was very rough. I questioned why we did this, if it’s worth it and was like “this isn’t even fun!” This is not just for those who lived separately like we did, but for everyone. Even for those who cohabited before marriage assumed things will cross over smoothly, but that is not always true-for the most part.

Not only are you merging all of your valuables, who’s furniture is going, sharing closet space, curfew time (this changes in marriages y’all lol)- simple things like this becomes extremely complicated and frustrated. You also have to determine whether to merge accounts, or keep them independent, whether to the man pays the mortgage and the woman pays the other stuff, or does it all come from one pot. Oh, and the big one….will this person finally change now that we are married (most of the time no…sorry).

After being married for 10 years, in 9 days, I learned that it took at least three years for us to be comfortable. It seemed like a long time then, but that was nothing!! After a rough first year, year two was a do over, and at year three we felt more settled and was glad we stuck it through.

I can go on about having patience. Just know that nothing changes over night, and marriage doesn’t changes behaviors-especially not in the beginning. The first year is rough because we expect this perfect fairytale during this honeymoon phase. In actuality, this is quite an adjustment, and many people don’t make it, because it does not appear to be what we initially thought. Be patient, steer the course, it will balance out. But enjoy the process until then!

3 Mistakes commonly made in a relationship.

Love is great, better than great actually. We all have a desire to experience this amazing feeling. However, even though we can’t escape heartbreak, we can learn how to better navigate relationships by truly understanding ourselves. Mistakes are inevitable, and truth be told, we learn (mostly) through our mistakes. But I want to highlight common mistakes that are often made at one point or another in our relationships.

1. Believing you are ready for one.

Remember when your parents try to tell you that guy or gal isn’t a good fit, or too grown for you? What usually happens, we never listen right….parents end up being right every time (trust their experience 😉).

I work in trauma therapy and I see people moving forward in new relationships without dealing with past trauma, such as pain and abuse, from past relationships, or even grief. Entering new relationships with past trauma is unfair to the new significant other, and also sets the relationship up for failure. (Stay tuned for my next post on this.)
When dealing with trauma, we are not always in the right place to be in a relationship. Whether it be emotionally, working hard to build your career or education,etc. Be honest with yourself before leading someone else on. If you are not stable enough, meaning you have baggage or personal situations that will get in the way of the relationship, choose YOU first!

2. Not discussing expectations.

Oooh, this is the BIG one. Have you ever broken up with a guy or girl because you were not on the same page-6 months after dating? This happens so much! We look at physical and sexual attributes of the people we date, without having true conversations about what we are looking for (long term, short term goals, relocation). These are very important conversations and often lead to the demise of a relationship.

4. Wanting to fix someone.

I have been guilty of this😑! I read somewhere a long time ago that men date women for who they are and women date men for who they have the potential to be. When you shop for a car, do you look for a fixer upper, with the potential to be great, or one that’s already in great condition? You can’t go into a relationship wanting to fix someone; you’re often left disappointed and waste years on someone to be what they showed you years earlier they were not.

Like I stated earlier, mistakes happen and that’s how we grow. But take time to learn yourself, deal with your past, and make sure you are whole before taking on new relationships.

When was your last tune up?

When was the last time you got your oil changed; its due every three months right? What about your dental appointment, every six months right? When was the last time your marriage had a tune up? We get our oil changed quarterly, teeth, bi-annually, but when was the last time you checked in with your spouse? Maybe you feel that because you still cook, clean, take care of his kids, or (fellas) work hard, bring flowers every Wednesday, buy her everything she needs. But is that enough? Maybe he’s tired of the same sex positions, maybe she’s tired of “just because” roses every third Wednesday. News flash: 🌹 “just because it’s Wednesday,” played out 4 years ago 🌹 lol.

When was the last time you asked your significant other, are you happy? Why do we just assume they are happy because we offer what we “feel” makes them happy. Did the same thing that made you happy 6 years ago, still makes your day-today? Life changes, we grow, priorities change. 6 years ago, I didn’t care about dishes because we didn’t have kids…..well now I do and if you did them from time to time, it would be amazing (for example 😜). We often assume we know our partners are happy because we may not want to face the truth that they may not be. That is the hard part, right, to actually hear of unhappiness in your household.

Below are three questions that should be asked,every few months,or bi annually at the least…..kinda like that dental appointment we never seem to miss.

1. Are you happy?

I told you all before, I love my scaling questions, as they measure for progress, when working with clients. So possibly offering it in a scaling style. For example, On a scale of 0-10, with 0 being the worst and 10 being the best, how happy are you with the way our marriage/relationship is? Numbers are great, versus saying “good,” or “I’m happy.” I’m a gal that like details, so pick a number please! Ha ha

2. What areas need improvement?

This is a great area to explore, as we often feel that when someone is not as happy as we are, or maybe even happier, first understand that we often see things differently-hence the need for this conversation.

3. What do you need from me?

Please pay attention to the response you get from this- this is a very powerful question. Sometimes a partner may not be happy in a marriage because of their own inability to manage time, unresolved personal issues, etc. They may very well just need you to keep doing what you are doing, while they put more effort into xyz. However, if he/she says “I need you to….” then work on ways to do that for the overall healthiness of your marriage.

Longevity does not equal success (I need to coin this phrase). Don’t assume what you don’t know because you fail to ask. If you don’t change your oil, it will run out and your head gasket will blow. Don’t let your marriage run without routine maintenance-or it will blow too.