Marital Monday: Adjectives

An adjective is defined as a word used to describe a person, place or thing. ¬†Who remembers this Grammar Rock Video ūüôā

The other day I asked my husband for 3 adjectives that he thought described me. He did and I was surprised at his word choices. ¬†What I found interesting is that 2 out of the 3 words he used I¬†did not feel described me. How was it that he saw these great qualities that I did not see myself? ¬†I asked him if he was just being nice and he said he wasn’t. ¬†You know sometimes husbands tend to tell us what we want to hear, lol. ¬†Maybe he chose those 3 adjectives because that is how he would like me to be, that’s a thought.

Either way, he did his job as a spouse. ¬†Spouses are supposed to make one another want to be better people. ¬†That is what I took away from our conversation. I want to be those adjectives that he used to describe me. ¬†In fact, I was already in the process of trying to find new adjectives that I would like to use to describe me. ¬†I know that sounds strange, but it is true. ¬†For instance, one of the¬†adjectives I have always used to describe myself is impatient. And as a result, I have always been impatient. ¬†After all these years I finally realized that I need to change my adjectives. ¬†I am going to start using the word “patient” to describe myself and start becoming a more patient person. Lets stop using negative adjectives to describe ourselves.

Think about the adjectives you use to describe yourself.  Ask your spouse or those close to you what adjectives they would use to describe you.  You may be surprised, hopefully pleasantly surprised, lol.

~Tricia

A Labor of Love

heart-1280525_960_720If someone asked me to define the phrase, “a labor of love”, I would say it means hard work you do because you enjoy it not because you will receive praise or any compensation for it.

For me marriage is a labor of love. It takes hard work as well as continuous effort but I do it because I enjoy a happy marriage and the key to that for me other than God’s presence in our marriage is ensuring my husband’s happiness. ¬†I can not imagine what it would be like if I did not make any efforts to make him happy. ¬†It is not something I have to do but it is something I enjoy doing. ¬†For instance, I know my husband enjoys taking lunch to work rather than having to buy it. So it only makes sense for me to cook so that he has something to take to work. Do I always enjoy the act of cooking? No. ¬†But I enjoy providing him with lunch to take. ¬†See how that works?

Do you do what it takes to make your spouse happy? Do you put in the work?  Envision what it would be like in a marriage if you focus on making your wife/husband happy and they focus on making you happy.  It would be amazing. I am not saying your marriage will be perfect. Of course conflicts will still arise, no marriage is without them (if you do not know how to effectively resolve conflicts get some ideas here). But putting in the work and effort is a great start to having a more positive marriage.

Now the second part of this phrase is putting in the work not to receive praise for it. I do not expect my husband to go to work everyday sit at the table with his friends and smack and lick his lips after every bite talking about how good it is that his wife cooked for him. That would be ridiculous.  The efforts we put in should not be done for praises.  However, appreciation is always welcomed and should be expressed.

What are things you do as a labor of love? What do you enjoy doing for your spouse? Do you do it just for praise? Take time to reflect on the questions and ponder over your answers. If necessary make some changes and you may just be pleasantly surprised by the results.

 

~Tricia

 

 

Marital Monday: Love, Love, Love, Love Crazy Love

I asked, “How did you know he/she was the one?”

She said,

” From our very first date it just felt like I already knew him. And every time after that it felt¬†more and more comfortable.”

He said,

“I just knew. ¬†Whether it is just walking in the park, or on the beach, she just fills me up.”

Yesterday was such a great day.  I witnessed the nuptials of my oldest and dearest friend, Melissa and her new husband Jonathan. I was honored to be invited to join Melissa in the bridal suite the morning of the wedding as she prepared along with her sister (the matron of honor) and her mom.  I have been an extended part of this family for over 20 years and graciously accepted the invitation.

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The Palace

The ceremony and the reception was held at The Palace in Somerset Park.We started off the day in the bridal suite where coffee soon turned to mimosas. We talked, laughed, and wiped the occasional tears that developed in our eyes when we thought about why we were all gathered together on this day.

wpid-2015-06-15-23.33.04.jpg.jpegHair and makeup were being done and selfies were being taken when before you knew it, it was time to start to get dressed.

Melissa looked absolutely beautiful.  I was speechless.  I could not wait for Jonathan to see his bride. I watched as the photographer captured memories.  After a little while I decided to go with my husband and get a good seat for the ceremony.  The next time I would see my friend she would be walking down the isle.

Let me go back a little. About 2 years ago. I remember Melissa telling me that there was a suggested match¬†on eHarmony¬†that caught her interest. ¬†They connected and went out. I don’t remember what she told me they did on their date but I remember how she sounded. When we hung up I told my husband that I think Melissa found “the one”.

Jonathan sounded like everything I wanted her to find. The first time I met him was about 5 months or so later. ¬†We were winding down from my daughter’s first birthday party and some of my family were still here along with Melissa. She said Jonathan wanted to come and meet her here. When I met him I immediately felt his warm loving spirit. He fit right in and gave hugs (I am a hugger so this was important,lol).

Over the past two years I¬†have gotten to know him and adore him more and more. What stands out every time I see Jonathan is the love and appreciation he has for my friend. ¬†Melissa is a rare jewel so it was important to me that he could see¬†that also. ¬†I was not surprised at all when he popped the question. I knew he was truly committed and wanted to begin a life together. ¬†Obviously she said yes, which led us to yesterday. ūüôā

So there she was walking down the isle with her dad. ¬† Melissa¬†looked so beautiful. ¬†Typically I look at the groom’s expression as the bride walks down, but this time I was watching the bride. I was watching my friend. Her last walk as a single woman. I took that walk 6 years ago and I ¬†remember how it felt to be walking to the man I would spend my forever with. ¬†I am sure she had that same feeling.

The ceremony was  simple and elegant and they were soon man and wife.wpid-2015-06-15-21.24.04.jpg.jpeg

After the ceremony and the cocktail hour,the fun began. The traditional dances were dwpid-2015-06-15-21.28.17.png.pnganced while I watched as they relished in their moment. I had the privilege of saying the blessing at the reception. This was my blessing to them.

“Heavenly Father,

We gather here now to celebrate the love and commitment of Melissa & Jonathan as they share their first meal together as husband and wife.
Let this be the first of many loving meals shared together with their family and friends.

We thank you for the love, guidance and support of those gathered here today
We pray, their hearts grow together in love and unity. Teach them how to enjoy working together, playing together, and dreaming together.

Estamos muy contentos de formar parte de este dia maramilloso
Que haya muchos gozos, sonrisas and logros
Que Dios los siga bendiciendo pon muchos a√Īos mas

We are so happy to be a part of this wonderful day
May there be many joys, smiles, and laughter.
May God continue to shower you with blessings for many more years to come.

Amen”

The reception was gorgeous but the highlight for me was when Jonathan surprised his new wife by singing to her. He sang “Crazy Love” by Aaron Neville. ¬†So many people were wiping their tears,¬†myself included. It was absolutely beautiful!!! ¬†As a couple they are absolutely ¬†beautiful!wpid-2015-06-15-21.21.31.png.png

It was a true celebration. I did not get to spend much time with Melissa, she¬†had¬†many people to meet and greet. ¬†However, we did meet on the dance floor when the DJ played “Girls¬†Just Wanna Have Fun.”

The cake had been cut and it was time for us to say goodbye.  I found her and gave her a quick hug and kiss. I am looking forward to speaking to her soon to reminisce about the day.

I dedicate this blog to Melissa and Jonathan the epitome of a couple in love.

~Tricia     wpid-2015-06-15-21.22.36.jpg.jpeg

Marital Monday: The Empty Nest

 

Over the next few months many couples will be entering a new phase. Some of your children may be graduating high school and going away to college.¬† Others may be graduating college and have decided to relocate. Whatever the reason, when your children are no longer in the home you have entered the ‚Äúempty nest‚ÄĚ phase of your marriage. I am nowhere near entering this phase, lol. The closest I have come is explained in my post ‚ÄúEmpty Bed Syndrome for Parents‚Äú.

So back to becoming empty nesters. Many couples do not realize the adjustment associated with this phase. For the past 18 years or more as a couple, your life has centered around the needs, activities, and interests of your children. Your weekends probably consisted of transporting your child to and from sports or other activities with friends.  Dinner conversations began with asking your child what’s going on at school.

Now what?

You’re alone in your house with your spouse again. The children are gone. You must relearn one another. I am sure your interests have changed from the last time it was just you and your spouse in the house. Well guess what?  Your spouse’s interests have changed also.  This is a pivotal point in your marriage.  I have seen many couples adjust to this phase easily and reconnect with one another effortlessly.   However, on the flip side I have also seen couples who realize that without the children at home they no longer have common interests decide to divorce after 20+ years of marriage.  It’s really sad when this happens. How do you avoid it?

Honestly I cannot answer the question how to avoid it.¬† I guess one way would be to maintain common interests with your spouse over the years whether you have children at home or not. Recognize when your interests are changing and let your spouse know, it shouldn‚Äôt be a guessing game. Listen to your spouse when they tell you ways they have changed. Appreciate each other‚Äôs changes.¬† If you do this now when it is just the two of you at home you won‚Äôt be like ‚Äúwho is this stranger, this isn‚Äôt the person I married.‚ÄĚ

Also, have your date nights.  Read the post Steps for a Perfect Date Night for tips.  As you evolve as individuals evolve together as a couple. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

If you read the Empty Bed post I linked above I missed my son when he was finally out of our bed but it needed to happen so that my husband and I could reconnect. It was an adjustment. We needed to adjust to it just being he and I. We had to relearn simple things like cuddling with one another and taking advantage of it just being us. I imagine it will be like that but on a greater scale when we are empty nesters. I am sure the time will be here faster than I would like to believe lol.

Are you an empty nester?  What was it like for you? Share your experience with us.

~Tricia

Marital Monday: The First Year

Not long ago I was speaking to a young man who was in his second year of marriage. I asked how married life was treating him. I was surprised by his response. He said that things were going well now but that the first year was really rough. I didn’t expect that kind of honesty from him because we are nothing more than acquaintances.¬† I figured he would give the standard response of “It’s great” and keep it moving. Then I thought about the purpose of me asking if I only expected a generic response. I guess I was just trying to make conversation.

I thought back to our first year of marriage. I wouldn’t say it was really rough but there were issues that needed to be worked out. My husband nor I had ever lived with anyone other than college roommates before getting married. We both had to learn to adjust to sharing our space. We also had to get used to each others’ habits. During that time we learned new things about each other that didn’t come up while we were dating. We are still learning things about each other.

Think about it. You meet a total stranger and then you fall in love, get married and now live together. A few years prior you didn’t even know this person existed.¬†¬† So yes, that first year is one of transition and learning. At the same time it is also fabulous.¬† You are waking up with this person that you love daily and celebrating a year full of “firsts” as a married couple.¬† I just asked my husband how he would describe our first year and the first thing that came out of his mouth was “fast”, lol.¬† It did go by fast.

It is important to take time and reflect on previous years of marriage if anything you do this to see how far the two of you have come as a couple.  Hopefully the issues you had then are no longer issues now.

Think back. What was your first year like?

 

~Tricia

Marital Monday: 5 Issues Men Have With Their Wives

As I have stated before I like to observe married couples. Why do I do this? To be honest I do it to help me with my own marriage. To learn. I observe couples as a unit and I observe husbands and wives as individuals. This post focuses on some things I have learned from observing husbands ( my own included).

There are things that women do that their husbands have issues with.  Here are the 5 most common that I have noticed.

  1. Letting herself go – This is something that men usually do not admit outright but they notice. They realize that their wife now favors yoga pants over a cute pair of jeans and hats have replaced hairstyles. I can’t imagine that my husband gets too excited when he comes home to me wearing the same nightshirt and sweats that I was wearing when he went to work.
  2. Sharing marital problems with others РWhen a wife has an problem in the marriage her man wants her to communicate the issue to him, not to her girlfriends or other family members. He wants to be respected enough as her husband to be spoken to first so together they can work out the issue as a couple. He does not want her to come to him last after her thoughts have already been clouded by the opinions and advice from individuals outside of the marriage.  If the issue can not be resolved together then as a couple they should seek outside guidance from a third party they both trust.
  3. Treating him like a kid – Whether you have children or not, your husband is not one of them and does not like being treated like one. What I have realized from my husband is that it’s all in the tone. Men do not like being spoken to in the same tone that their wives use to speak to the children.
  4. Being insecure about other women – Men find it annoying when every time they mention another woman (whether it be a co-worker or a childhood friend) the conversation gets cut off because their wife begins grilling¬†them about who the woman is, what she looks like and if she has ever met her¬†before. ¬†I understand if there have been issues with trust in the past which causes the wife to feel insecure but if you have forgiven your spouse you have to trust that it won’t happen again and not expect that it will.
  5. Not showing appreciation¬†– Like women, men also like to feel appreciated. They do not like to just be told what to do or what they are not doing wrong. Men like to be appreciated for what they are doing right. When they feel appreciate they desire to do more of the “little things” grows.

Ladies, don’t worry the list of thigs we have issues with when it comes to our husbands will be done…it will just be hard to edit it to just 5 things, lol.

~Tricia

Marital Monday: 112 Weddings

Often times while I am cleaning the kitchen I find a good documentary to play on the laptop.  A couple of months ago I came across the HBO Documentary 112 Weddings on HBO Go.  This was an amazing film.

I watch it again with my husband and we paused and discussed throughout the film. The conversation it evoked between us was amazing. We shared things that we have never shared with anyone or even admitted to ourselves.

I recommend it to all! Whether you have been married for years or you are still single waiting for the one, you can benefit from this movie.

For over twenty years filmmaker Doug Block has had a side business of being a wedding videographer. In this film he follows up with a few of the 112 couples whose special day he has captured over the years. Can you imagine? He had a front view seat to all of these weddings and now 5 years…. 8years…. 20 years later he meets with them a again to talk about there experience thus far (the good and the bad). It even shares the story of 2 couples preparing to get married.

I think there are about 8 couples who are part of this documentary. The couples vary by years married, race, and lifestyle. One couple has a child with special needs, while another couple is battling depression. There are also couples that share why they are no longer married. These couples allowed themselves to be vulnerable and transparent.  There is definitely something for everyone to relate to.

Here is the trailer.

For more information about this film click here.

Watch, enjoy and please share your thoughts.

~Tricia

Marital Monday: Don’t Talk Just Listen

shhI don’t know if it is because I am a Social Worker but I always feel the need to give advice when my husband is talking. Okay! I must be honest. I just don’t give advice. I totally assess what he is saying and give him a full out treatment plan. This works well when he asks me for my help but many times he just wants to vent to his wife about whatever is on his mind.

It didn’t hit me that this was a problem until a few months ago when he told me flat out he finds himself not wanting to share things with me because I go so deep into what he is saying. It really made me think. Never do I want to be so annoying that my husband does not want to communicate things that are on his mind. I am his wife not his therapist.

Am I the only one that does this? I don’t think so. Social Worker or not, I think this is something that many wives do and many husbands find annoying. Many times, as women we feel we need to be a problem solver. Well, I have news for you many times our husbands just want us to be a listening ear. Whether he wants to talk about work, family, aspirations, or whatever, we just need to listen.¬† We get on our husbands for not wanting to communicate but never do we take a look at how we respond when they do communicate. When we do this it is as if we are saying that they are incapable of problem solving on their own. We are treating them like our child not our spouse (which is a different post for a different day, lol).

Because of my inability to just sit and listen I took away my husbands desire to talk to me. I am just grateful that he was honest enough to let me know how he felt so that I could work on it.  That showed me that he wants to be able to share things with me. As I am typing this I am finding myself tearing up at that thought of how things could have been had my husband never communicated his frustration with me. There would have been a lull in communication between us.  Communication is a NECESSITY.  Many marriages fall apart without it.

So now I just listen. I enjoy just listening. I may ask a question here or there for clarification but that is about it. I have faith that my husband values my opinion enough that when he would like it he will ask for it, and he does. This simple change has really helped us. I can tell he enjoys talking to me now because he does it more often.

Think about how you respond when your husband tries to talk to you. Do you cut him off and rail off all the things he should do or should have done? If the answer is “yes”, then this post is for you. Try to just listen. You may be surprised that as he is talking out whatever it is, he will probably come to the same solution you would have offered on his own.

~Tricia

Marital Monday: Job Descriptions

The other day my husband was saying how his yearly self evaluation at work was due. We began to joke about self evaluating ourselves as spouses. That conversation led me to thinking.

In every job there is a job description. The job description includes several things but the overall purpose of the job description is to provide the individual with a blueprint of what the position they are holding/ applying for requires.¬† If you are hired it is assumed that your education and experience has qualified you to be able to fulfill the responsibilities outlined in the job description. Now let’s take it a step further.¬† By you accepting the position you displaying confidence in your self. You are saying that you are confident that you can satisfy what is outlined in the description. What would be the point in accepting employment for a position that you do not feel confident in?

The same principle applies in marriage. By the two of you agreeing to get married you are saying that you can carry out the duties of the job description for being a wife and a husband. However, no two job descriptions are the same. They are unique to the couple. It is not something that was written down it was more of a discussion. While getting to know one another you discussed what attributes you wanted in your potential spouse, this was the job description.

So you both accepted the positions of husband and wife. Now what? Well, it is time for the self evaluations. When I was working and did a self evaluation I would always have the job description next to me to serve as my outline. I would go through it and assess if I was effectively carrying out its requirements.¬† Do you do that with your position in your marriage? For example, you know your spouse enjoys cuddling. That would be part of the job description that you accepted and felt confident you could carry out. Now self evaluate. Do you spend time during the week cuddling with your spouse? On a scale of 1 – 5, 1 being “improvement needed” and 5 being “excellent work”, where do you stand.

Unlike a self evaluation at work the one in marriage is more of a mental one. If you want to write stuff down you can feel free. But you don’t have to. You know your spouse and the things they would like from you.You used to do those things in the beginning. That is part of what connected you to one another in the first place. You met someone that made you feel great and fell in line with the “job description” in your mind for a potential mate.

It is extremely important that we take time and self evaluate ourselves as a husband or wife. We make the time to do this for the positions we hold outside the home.¬† While you are self evaluating make sure you are being honest with yourself. You know if there are areas where improvement is needed.Also it is equally important that you continually communicate your needs to your spouse. As we grow our needs may change. We need to communicate those changes and “update” that job description.

Give this a try.  I do not write these posts for just you. I write them to improve my own marriage as well. Every marriage can use encouragement and tips to make it more successful. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I enjoy writing them.

 

~Tricia

 

Marital Monday: Be a Better You!!!

One of the best things you can do for your spouse is to become a better you.¬† How can you be the spouse or parent you were called to be if you are not the best version of yourself. Don’t you want to give your family the best? That goal will never be attained if you are unable to be the best you can be.

KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

Would you want to be married to a person who does not know who they are? No. Would you want to watch your parent live a monotonous life day after day? No. If you would not want to live with a family member like that then do not be the family member who is like that. Find out what your purpose is, go after that dream you feel is unattainable.¬† The only thing in your way is you. Have confidence in your self. It is not the job of your spouse or someone else to have to validate you and constantly give you praise. Give your own self praise and affirmations. When you feel good about you it is contagious and those around you will feel good about you. You even treat people better when you feel better about yourself.¬† Think about it. When you do not feel good about you, that negative attitude flows through you. It begins to seep out of your pores until you reek of it. Haven’t you ever heard the phrase “Your attitude stinks”, that is what it means.

Begin to do things that make you feel good about you. If you feel better about yourself when your hair and makeup is done then do your hair and put on some makeup. Not so that your spouse gives you a compliment but because it makes you feel better about yourself. If time is a factor than make the time! Stop waking up when your spouse and/or kids wake up, because then you do not have anytime to do things for you. Wake up 30 minutes earlier to spend sometime for yourself. I know you like your sleep, I do too but if that 30 minutes gives you a much better attitude then isn’t it worth it? If you are unhappy about your weight, than make a commitment to yourself to get in shape to become a better you. These are things that only you can do for yourself.

Have faith in yourself and what you can accomplish. As a Christian I know what my worth is.  I know I have a purpose. However, I can not carry out that purpose if I am not the best me that I can be. I recently heard this quote:

“Feed Your Faith and Your Fears Will Starve”

Powerful, isn’t it! The Bible says that you can do ALL things through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13). I want to become the best version of myself. I want to be better than I was yesterday and my goal for tomorrow is to be better than I am today.¬† I want this for you too. Find ways to encourage yourself. Make vision boards, give yourself daily affirmations, read encouraging scriptures what ever it is, do it for you.

Be a better you and in turn you will be better to those around you!

~Tricia