Friday, September 11, 2009

The Messy Rawness of Life

Why is it that we have such a hard time with the rawness of life? The messiness, the lies, the harsh words, the hurt. Or maybe it's just me. Especially when it comes to my marriage. Not just my current marriage but especially my marriage to my late husband. It can sometimes feel like a struggle to admit that everything wasn't always perfect. To admit that I was and still am a real person with real struggles and that a lot of the lessons that I live by today came out of some of the stormiest times in my first marriage.

I owe a great debt to K (that's what I'll call him) for all that he gave me in those 16 years together. I learned so many things about myself and what it takes to be happily married. I learned precious secrets that I want to share with other women who want to experience happy marriages. I wanted to share a little of what I learned with you.
  1. I learned that even when you love someone deeply it takes conscious and consistent work to stay connected.

  2. I learned how to love someone, that I didn't give birth to, so much that my I thought heart would burst.

  3. I learned how to hang in there and fight through betrayal, rage and sadness.

  4. I learned that a passionate and even deeper love could exist even after betrayal if both parties are willing to do the work of rebuilding the marriage.
  5. I learned what it was like to be loved despite my flaws and I learned to love him beyond his as well.
  6. I am still learning how to let him go in some ways and carry him with me in others.

Reading this list lets me see just how much the painful times in my life and marriage have served me. I can see so clearly how those lessens help to guide me not only in my current marriage but my entire life. It is only now that I realize how blessed I am to have had the opportunity to learn these things. Although there was far more joy than tears and a whole lot more laughter than pain, it's the pain, I find, that cuts deepest. The beautiful thing I've learned is that the depth to which I experienced pain has created a new depth for experiencing joy.

Are you tempted to sugarcoat the struggles you face in you marriage or other relationships? Do find yourself saying, "Every thing's fine" when it's not? What needs to happen for you to find your joy?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Power of Acknowledgement

Who wants to fight with their spouse or significant other? That might not be such a a good question! But seriously, although painful, arguments can also be a wonderful place to learn and grow. I have learned some really important things as a result of some really awful arguments. Let me give you and example.

I can have a very "Lucy in the sky" disposition. I like structure when it comes to work but otherwise I like to feel free and untethered in other areas of my life. Example: I plan to clean the house tomorrow. BUT if I wake up the next day and it's a beautiful outside, scratch cleaning, let's go to the park! Let the house take care of it's self. YIPEEEE! I'm off and running!

The Hubby, on the other hand, likes structure and order. There in lies my challenge. I found myself feeling resentful when he would try to bring some of his order to my life, to me it felt more like a strait-jacket! Life is to be lived! How can life be lived to the fullest on a schedule? How could he not get this? It's impossible, right? I felt stifled. Oh, and I argued my point and so did he!

He felt that order is a very necessary part of life and that life without it has no structure. And he needed structure. Order helped him to see what was working and what was not and where he needed to adjust. He couldn't understand how I couldn't see the benefits of order or why I resisted. On top of that, he felt that when I resisted his idea of order that I was actually rejecting him. That left him feeling unappreciated.

We were dead locked.

As I sat there, with my arms folded and lips poked out I began to realise something. As much as I didn't want to admit it, he had a point. I could use a little more structure in my life. I also began to see how he could have felt that I was rejecting him when I resisted his idea.

I've done enough "relationship work" to know that, despite the fact that I wanted to continue to argue my point, there was really only one thing I could do. *Deep breath* I had to acknowledge The Hubby's point. So, after more deep breaths, that's what I did. It went something like this," I'm sorry if you feel rejected and you have a really good point. I do need more structure in my life and I am going to try and be more receptive when you offer suggestions."

Then I sat and waited to see how it would land. After a few moments he apologized and acknowledged my feelings too! Can you imagine that! We were both honkered down ready to defend out points to the death (at least I was!) and a little acknowledgement turned it all around!

So as we continue to try to find the balance between too much and not enough structure, we've learned a very important lesson. Acknowledgement is powerful. I'm not saying that our arguments always go this smoothly but I have found that trying to hearThe Hubby's point of view and acknowledging it certainly goes a long way. Not to mention how great it feels when he does the same.

Are there any area's in your life where you know you need to acknowledge someone or something?

What holds you back? What could you discover on the other side of acknowledgement?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We Only Get One True Love?.........Really?

I have learned quite a bit in the last 33 months of my life. Becoming a widow and finding love again has brought many challenges and gifts. You see I had a theory before I became a widow. And that theory was "You Only Get One TRUE Love".

I truly believed that my first husband was the one and only love of my life and when he died my my time was up. Everybody said so. I saw it on TV and in movies. My family and friends even backed it up with, "You should be grateful, most people never even find what you had."

So, I sat around sad for a few months. Telling myself how greatful I should be and trying to accept that I would never feel love like that again. But as time went on something started to happen. I began to feel the urge to love again. And I'm not talking about some nansy-pansy, half and half love. I'm talking about some Jill Scott, Whatever Love. You know the kind LOVE that makes you smile when you think of him. The kind of Love that makes you close your eyes and hum to yourself. You know the kind of love I'm talking about!

Well, I was amazed to say the least. I was still in the throws of deep, gut wrenching grief but I knew I wanted to love and be loved again. And as hard as I was grieving, I knew that part of me would not be denied. I didn't quite know what to make of these feelings. I thank God that I had people in my life that assured me that these feeling were okay and encouraged me not to push them a side.

So, as I fumbled around with these feeling you'll never guess what happened.........I met my current husband. Imagine my surprise when all sorts of feelings began to pop up! Feeling I though were dead. Needless to say, my "one true love" theory was going to have to go.

As time went on I fell more and more in love with "the hubby". I began to realise that this love is just as true as the first love. People have asked me how could I love two men so deeply? I often respond with, "The same can you love two children so deeply. Having one child doesn't stop you from loving the next one just as deeply."

So these are two of the many lessons life has taught me:

  1. My capacity for love is great. It runs deeper than I could have ever imagined.

  2. From time to time I have to take a look at old ideas and mindsets and make sure they still belong in my life. My "one true love" theory was out dated and could have cost me the love of the beautiful man I am blessed to call my husband today.

When is the last time you checked your "theories"? What ideas are you carrying around that go unchallenged? My theory, left unchallenged, would have cost me a life full of love. What are yours costing you?