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Monday, December 29, 2008

Love Makes All Things Manageable

I hope your Christmas was as full of joy as mine. We had 11 people for dinner on Christmas day. Our son from Tucson, Arizona, our two daughters and their spouses, our granddaughters and our son-in-law's father and his friend enjoyed the day with us. Love warmed the air and bathed our hearts. Today is the 5th day of Christmas and the joy lingers on in the form of recent memory. Love has a way of making everything manageable. Our daughter faces the possibility of a liver transplant this year and our son is going through a painful divorce. The love Everett and I have for each other extends to our children and comes back to us doubled. We all know it will get us through whatever we face in 2009. We hope the same for you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Kevin Federline Says He Loves Britney Spears

"Just because I'm not in love with her (Britney) any more doesn't mean I don't love her," Kevin is quoted as saying in the December 15th issue of People Magazine. When told that Britney says she wed for the wrong reasons, some of Kevin's response was, "I can't tell you how it was for her, but I know for me. I fell in love. And I loved the idea that I was in love and I got married and had two beautiful children."

So what does it mean to "fall in love"? Could Kevin and Britney have become soul mates? What might they have done to make that happen? How would their lives and their children's lives been different? What kind of pressures make it difficult for two people who believe they are "in love" to become soul mates? Was it just the birth of two children too quickly that caused them to break up?


Monday, December 15, 2008

What to Talk About After 53 Years Together

Traveling from the Sacramento area to the North Coast of California takes about 2 and a half to 3 hours depending on the weather and the route we take. This time (December) it was foggy in the Valley so it took a little longer. We have taken nearly every possible road between Sacramento and the Coast. So we talk about all those adventures and the stories generated by them.

Sometimes we just reach over and touch each other and smile. Silence when you feel connected feels good. We talk about little things--the colors of the hills, a new building, the traffic, what we want to do, which road to take this time, should we look up an old restaurant, how long it's been since our last trip to the coast.

By the time you become soul mates you often find your partner saying something you were just thinking. On a get-away like this, opportunities to share thoughts, stories, comments, memories are abundant. All couples who love each other need get-aways.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Christmas Tradition--Sea Ranch

Every year we go away to write our Christmas cards. This weekend we left our home in the foggy central valley of California and headed for the North Coast. We rented a condo which is on the bluffs overlooking the ocean at Sea Ranch.

Winter rates are much lower and few people know that weather on the coast in the winter can be so sunny and warm. Nothing nourishes relationship more than time alone together on great get-aways. Walking, talking, reading, watching football, and writing Christmas cards. Warm and cozy in bed with the sea breeze blowing in an open window. Listening to the crashing of the waves against the bluff as you fall asleep together.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Story-Corps Promotes Listening and Talking

Betting that couples have untold stories to tell, an oral-history organization, Story-Corps, scheduled a listening day for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. The national event stemmed from Dave Issay's Story Corps progam which has helped nearly 25,000 people record interviews on CD's to preserve their stories.

Everett and I discovered a long time ago that we have a wealth of stories to tell each other and we continue to create stories together. Long ago we discovered some places along the north coast of California that are perfect settings for story telling. We watch the sun go down over the ocean and don't turn on lights. Then we talk about pets we had and how we got them, childhood adventures, houses we lived in, friends we had, interests, accidents, fears, dreams, the bad, the good and everything in between. And just when I think I have heard all of Everett's stories, he tells one I have never heard. It's wonderful!

Now I just enjoy hearing again about how when Ev was 5 years old his grandfather sent him to the store to buy something his mother didn't want her father to buy and told him not to tell her. If you don't take time to share your stories with each other, you risk never becoming soul mates.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Laugh Every Day

Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we will never cease to be amused. A great saying by an unknown author. Soul mates smile and laugh often. Another saying--life is too important to be taken seriously. I can't imagine any soul mate relationship without a sense of humor.

Laugh at yourself when you make silly mistakes. Laugh at the funny things children do and say. Joke with your co-workers, grocery store checkers, bank tellers and members of your family. Laugh at the antics of your pets. Laugh at the comics.

Fill your days with laughter and humor. Be careful not to joke at someone else's expense. Teasing and sarcasm are not humor. Usually they involve laughing at someone else.

Lighten up. Look for how funny we all can be. Enjoy the ridiculous sometimes. Enjoy your partner. People who laugh easily and often are easy to love. Someone once said, "You can't love someone with whom you don't laugh.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reader Disagrees with Andrea Schroder

"There's nothing you can give your kids that equals two parents loving each other," Andrea Schroder was quoted as saying in People Magazine. Reader, Kate Williams, from Sugar Land, Texas took exception to that in a letter to the magazine.

What do you think? Single parents can do a great job raising their children, but they cannot model a good marriage relationship. Unfortunately, many people have never seen a lifelong soul mate relationship. They have no idea how to begin. They can only use their imaginations and do a lot of searching and learning.

How about you? How many good relationships have you seen? What kind of relationship do you have or want? What are you willing to do to make that happen? If you have lost a promising relationship, learn from it and decide what you want now. A good book to get you started is Colene Sawyer's "Fishing By Moonlight-The Art of Choosing Intimate Partners". More about that another day.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Don't Focus on the Ashes, Keep the Flame Alive

Marriage does not mean looking after the ashes, it means beginning the process of keeping the flame alive and growing. You do that by staying OPEN TO LEARNING. Go to Marriage Encounter, couples marriage workshops and classes. Read books and blogs like this on relationship. Find friends who value relationship and learn from them. Have fun together. Some states, including California, have a group called Healthy Marriages which offers classes on relationship.

MOST IMPORTANT! Never stop learning more about each other. What was it like growing up in his/her family? What does your lover like and dislike? What are the triggers, passions, interests? What are the fears, perceptions, attitudes, feelings? So much to learn about each other and only one lifetime in which to do it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chyler Leigh (Grey's Anatomy) Recommends Date Nights

Chyler Leigh (Grey's Anatomy) and actor musician Nathan West featured in the
Nov.10th issue of People Magazine share some of their relationship secrets. They schedule date nights and balance their work commitments so that children, Noah and Taelyn, come first. Chyler says if they didn't do that they would never see each other.

"I am so in love with my family and I am so in love with my husband," says Leigh. "I really believe I have what was taken from me as a kid. For the first time in my life, I have joy."

The article in "People" is entitled "At Long Last, Love." It begins on page 73. Look it up and find out how Leigh and Nathan learned how to start becoming soul mates.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

7 Ways to Keep Romance Alive When Money is Short

Times are tough! Time after time surveys show that couples fight most often about money and sex. Money experts say that financial success does not depend on how much you make, but on what you do with what you make. Here are seven suggestions for keeping romance alive while surviving the money crisis.

  1. Develop an attitude of thrift. Pennies, nickles, and dimes make dollars. The wise money manager thinks in terms of nickles, dimes, and quarters.

  2. Make do with what you have. Sell what you don't need, buy what you need at garage sales or thrift stores. Use old fashioned cleaners--soda and ammonia.

  3. Smart shopping makes cents. Take advantage of seasonal sales. Never go shopping without a list. Shop intentionally, not impulsively.

  4. Give gifts of time and talent.

  5. Barter goods and services. Find friends with whom you can trade.

  6. Scuttle bills with skills. Use each partner's skills as often as possible to eliminate the necessity of spending money for labor..

  7. Avoid money pitfalls. Pitfals include impulse spending, excessive credit buying, and depending too much on a second income..

Talking, brainstorming and working on these skills together can make you feel closer to each other. And remember, sex is free so enjoy it with each other often.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Is Marriage Doomed and Outdated?

The Sept. 21,2008 issue of Parade Magazine ran an article entitled, "The Truth About American Marriage." Their national poll found that marriage seems to be working quite well for most people. About 88% of the people surveyed said they were happy or reasonably content in their marriage.

Parade"s respondents also gave positive explanations for why they stayed married, with 71% choosing "deep love" as a reason and 73% citing "companionship". Half of them described thir marriages as "loving and joyful" and nearly a third characterized them as "peaceful coexistence".

When you read that Madonna and Guy Richie have broken up after years of marriage or that Bill Murray and his wife, Jennifer are divorcing, don't throw up your hands in fear that marriage will soon be outdated. Most of us married people continue this process of becoming soul mates and it gets better and better as we learn to give each other the gift of acceptance and deep conscious love.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dancing in the Rain

Those who believe only sunshine brings happiness have never danced in the rain. Some of our greatest memories come from dancing in the rain. Be willing to do something different.

Skating on country roads on a full moon night. Making love on the side of a mountain. Roasting hot dogs at the river. Back pack trips in the mountain wilderness. Climbing a tree and singing old songs. Sleeping in the same sleeping bag at the top of a waterfall in freezing weather. Going gold panning. Renting a boat and rowing across a lake. Flying in a biplane. Fishing mountain streams. Looking for sea shells at the beach. Attending churches very different from yours. Going to marriage retreats. You can probably add many exciting adventures of your own.

When we had been married for about 10 years, Everett took a two and a half year job in Germany. While we were there we traveled to 16 countries. We rediscovered each other and renewed our love. Dancing in the rain is great. Try it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Touch Is Healing

Good news for couples wanting to become soul mates.....researchers have found that massage and other supportive and caring touch lower stress hormones and blood pressure, particularly among men, while also enhancing oxytocin, a hormone believed to calm and counter stress. The findings will be published in the Oct. 14 issue of the journal "Psychosomatic Medicine".

Touch comes easily to soul mates. They touch hands and fingers throughout the day. They touch toes in bed. They cuddle and rub each other's backs, legs, and feet. Touch creates closeness, warmth, and joy. Now we can add healing to this list of pleasures and well-being.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Nurture Love by Getting Away

I have missed a week of blogging. We have been at our timeshare at David Wally's Hot Springs Resort at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. From our third floor balcony we could see streams and fields in the Carson Valley wetlands. Thousands of sparrows migrate through this valley. Flocks of Canadian geese come here to nest and lay their eggs. They flew over us in beautiful formations. Golden eagles and mudhens spend the winter here. Deer, coyotes, rabbits, racoons, possums mingle with cows and horses.

We went fishing at Red Lake, sat in the hot mineral pools at Wallys, went to the huge Candy Dance craft fair in historic Genoa, drove to a birthday party in Fallon, Nevada, ate picnic lunches, and much more. Best of all we have enjoyed having fun talking, laughing, eating, walking. Get-aways nurture love and romance.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Secrets of Love

You probably wouldn't be reading this blog if you weren't looking for some secrets of love. Filmmaker, Tracie Donahue, made a movie about how to stay married. She quit college to marry at 22 and 11 years later a divorce left her facing single parenthood with no way of earning a living.

Donahue, who lives in Rocklin, California, finished college with a degree in communications. In her movie, she interviews couples, counselors, teachers, and even a couple of celebrities, Robin Givens and Jack Gallagher. They all share what they have learned about love.

Basically, she warns that a wedding is not just a fairytale followed by living happily ever after. Everyone needs to learn what it takes to become soul mates. That certainly includes choosing a person who is also willing to learn. No one can do it unilaterally.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Relationship Markers

Markers become unique to you and your soul mate. On our first date we saw a movie with theme music called, "Indian Love Call". When we went to a fair together a few months later we heard the song, "Indian Love Call" come through the speakers. That date became the pivotal point in our new relationship. "Indian Love Call" became our song.

On our honeymoon we had sparkling burgundy with our dinner one night. For many anniversaries we had sparkling burgundy even though it was the only time in the year we drank it. These are markers. They bring warm feelings of remembering. A truly sensory way to celebrate closeness.

Interestingly, markers may change. At some point when we requested the song, "Indian Love Call" musicians would look puzzled and say, "I never heard of it.' I don't think they even make sparkling burgundy any more. We haven't drunk it for many years. We do have new sensory markers. The sound of the ocean, Jennifer Rush's "The Power of Love", steamed clams on valentine's day. All of these things are intimate reminders of our love.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Lifetime Goes Too Fast

Yesterday's mail brought shocking news from long time friends. Years ago I taught first grade at Wilson School in Sanger, California where my friend, Joyce was also teaching first grade. Our husbands, Everett and LeRoy drove together to Fresno State College. We did a lot of fun things together.

Eventually, Joyce and LeRoy bought a farm in Cabool, Missouri. Like us, they had become soul mates and celebrated 50 plus years together. Joyce wrote that in December 2007 LeRoy was feeling tired. They thought it was just ageing. He went to the doctor and was diagnosed with leukemia. Sixteen days later he died. Joyce has lost her soul mate.

Life is short. Make each day count. Don't waste it being angry and disconnected from your lover. There is so much to enjoy about each other. Celebrate those things.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Talking, Feelings, Doing

In my office I have a therepeutic game for children called, "The Talking,Feeling, and Doing Game". What a great way to describe the relationship between soul mates. Talking and feeling heard and validated. Feeling and experiencing the security of being supported and understood. Doing and finding all kinds of activities that are fun because the two of you are engaged with each other. Score yourself on these three elements of satisfying relationship. Resist judging your partner. Remember, you can only change yourself.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Focus on the Joyous Moments

How often do you think about and relive the small moments in your relationship that bring a smile and a warm flush of pleasure? They don't have to be big things. I feel this warmth when I think of times when I have come home from work at night to find that Everett has gone out and opened the garage door in anticipation of my coming. Or when he shuts off the computer when he hears me enter the house and comes to greet me. Sometimes he stops what he is doing to listen and talk to me.

Does your partner know that you appreciate these acts of love? Tell him/her. You will bring a smile and warm feeling to him/her as well.

A word of warning: do not expect these things as an entitlement. Such thoughtful acts are usually occasional voluntary ways of showing love. That is what makes them special.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Learning to Love

What a relief! Love in not an involuntary force, mystical and mysterious, that sweeps us into an unwanted temporary bliss we haven't sought. We hear songs about the desperate out-of-control emotions that justify starting and leaving questionable relationships. We see these relationships portrayed in the media as desireable and something to hope for. Why can't I have such perfection? Oh! to be in love!

The good news is a deeply satisfying relationship does not have to be a fantasy or a dream. You can achieve that if you are open to learning about yourself and your partner. Openness to learning is essential. If both you and your partner make this your goal, in time you will reach the ultimate relationship becoming soul mates.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Soul Mates Tune In to Each Other

I injured my knee this week. As a result I am on crutches. Today I was feeling bummed because I have a lot to do and I am unable to do much. My husband was on the computer working on a script. I wandered into the computer room and gave him a kiss. Then I went back to my office.

A few minutes later he came to find me. "Did you kiss me because you need to cuddle a little?" I said, "I would like that." He turned off the computer and we cuddled and reminisced. That made my day. That's what being soul mates is all about.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Interesting question...How would you answer it? My answer: anyone who knows how to make their loved person feel special. I suppose that is different for different people. A man who has been married 30 years and still takes the time to open his wife's car door or seat her at a restaurant makes her feel special. When a man shows that he values a woman's opinion and enjoys being with her, she feels loved. Many women feel loved when a man makes a big deal of her birthday, Mothers' day and valentine's day. Making time to be with her also makes her feel special.

I asked my husband what makes him feel loved. He said, "When you show an interest in what I am interested in. When we are with other people and you show respect and pride in something I have done. When you tell other people that you appreciate something I have done. I like it when you tell me often that you love me and I like when you want to be close."

Talk to your lover. Ask him/her what you do that makes him/her feel loved. You, too, can become a lover.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Intentional Soul Mates

People who want to become soul mates don't rely on a magical "falling in or out of love" feeling to measure their closeness. They decide to be close and they intentionally love each other. Love is a verb, something you do.

You intentionally let go of defenses. You learn the skill of listening. You show respect and you build trust. You cannot cheat on your mate and expect to become soul mates. You identify the things you and your partner enjoy and feel passionate about. You support each other's pursuit of what brings you joy. You take time to enjoy each other physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Intentional living brings happiness and the chance to become soul mates.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Look for Soul Mate Tips Everywhere

We have just returned from our timeshare at Wally's Hot Springs and Spa at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Nevada's Carson Valley. We find a lot to enjoy in the calmness and quiet of this peaceful haven.

In the evenings we enjoy watching old movies on Turner Classic Movies. We don't have cable on our TV at home. I discover many wonderful soul mate tips in old movies, both things to do and things not to do. "Roughly Speaking", a 1945 movie starring Rosalind Russell and Robert Hutton had lessons in relationships that are timeless. Another Rosalind Russell movie, "The Citadel", made in 1938 also had lessons to learn. The outdated fashions, customs, appliances, transportation, and housing make the movies fun. Check out an old movie and see how much you can learn and have fun doing it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Could You Take Advice from Dr. Phil?

Soul mates must be willing to listen and learn. When a couple comes into my office, it doesn't take long for me to figure out what has gone wrong and what each person must work on to make the relationship better. Unfortunately, I cannot lay it out in a confrontational way like Dr. Phil does. His clients have agreed to hear what he has to say. Basically, they cannot leave.

Here is what often happens when counselors in private practice confront their clients. They become very defensive and some of them will jump up and yell, "I won't stay here and listen to that. I'm out of here." Sometimes they come back but often they don't. They have come to the counselor to have him/her fix their partner. That never works!

If you want to become soul mates, each of you have to be open to working on yourself. If you drop your defenses and seek to understand, your chance of becoming soul mates soars.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Evaluate What You Bring to Relationship

Ask yourself. What do I bring to this relationship? Make two lists. One will list the positives: affection, sense of humor, enthusiasm, excitement, trust, responsibility, kindness, joy, cheerfulness, dependability, good manners, acceptance, openness to learning. The other will list the negatives: criticism, worry, irresponsibility, selfishness, disrespect, control, indifference, complaint, moodiness, aloofness, lack of affection, rudeness, jealousy.

Take a look at the two lists.......Be honest. Give yourself affirmation for the positives. Take them in and feel good about them. Then look at the negatives. Select one of them to work to improve.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Does E-dating Help to Find a Soul Mate?

What if you didn't have the advantage of meeting your partner through e-dating? You didn't see a resume' of his/her likes and dislikes on Facebook or My-Space. Does that mean you have less chance of becoming soul mates?

RELAX!   The good news--you have not been robbed of the fun of discovery through dating. Much of the excitement of courtship and even lifelong partnership are discoveries about your partner and yourself. My husband and I have been married 53 years!   Gasp!   Really!   When he tells a story about himself I have never heard, it makes my day. Living with a soul mate reminds me of looking into a kaleidoscope. Each day brings new patterns and color.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Who Can Be Soul Mates?

Somebody asked me if soulmates can be the same sex. My answer is "yes." Most of us have more than one soul mate, but over a lifetime you will probably not have more than five or six. A soul mate is someone who accepts you just as you are and likes you anyway. When you are with a soul mate, hours together can seem like minutes. When you reconnect after being apart, sometimes even for years, it seems as if there has been no time lapse.

Soul mates are about unique connection. Can you create this kind of relationship? I think so, but you must want to understand rather than to be understood. You must be able to let go of judgment and control. You must feel safe. Above all, you must be able to accept this person just as they are.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Whew! We are just back from a 3,000 mile trip through the Southwest. Mostly a great time! Learning to travel well together can add to the joy of being soul mates. Patience helps. Take it easy. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Take turns with everything--music, things to do, driving, and when to do what. So many things to decide together and so much fun when both of you get to do some of what you want. Our trip took us to Palm Springs, Tucson to see our son in two plays, Sedona, Bryce and Zion Canyons. Such color, grandeur, and awesome beauty.

What we didn't count on....our son's house getting broken into the day before we arrived. My son and husband both getting colds and finally in Sedona my getting sick enough to have to visit an emergency room at the hospital in Kanab, Utah. Things happen!

Things worked out. We had a great time and have lots of pictures to remember it all. It's great to be in love and feel the partnership and support of your soul mate. I hope you are having good getaways this summer, too.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Your Partner Is Not Your Project

If you keep trying to change your partner, give it up. The only person you can change is yourself. Never forget, intimacy seldom comes to people who demand change in their partner. If you want to have a soul mate relationship, begin with yourself. You are responsible for your own actions, feelings, and behavior.

If you work on you, and your partner works on him or her self, life becomes an adventure and your chance of becoming soul mates increases. GOOD LUCK!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Will Henry and Jenna Become Soul Mates?

So...what do you think? Do you believe Henry and Jenna can learn to become soul mates? I am thinking about sending them a copy of my book, "BECOMING SOUL MATES--How to Create the Relationship You Always Dreamed Of." I am wondering if they would ever get it and if they did, would they read it.

What do you think?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I Can Never Do Enough

No matter what I do, I can never do enough! I give up. Just too much work! Have you ever said these words? Most of us have. Hang in there. You'll get there. The payoff will come. Probably just once in awhile at first, but if you both work at it, some day you will be telling others how to do it. Learning to become soul mates doesn't happen overnight. It happens when you have been loved over a period of tme, but it doesn"t happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or have to be carefully kept.


Friday, April 25, 2008

What is a Soul Mate?

I was asked by a radio interviewer to define soul mates. That was easy. A soul mate is someone who knows you very well and likes you anyway. A soul mate sees your strengths and discounts your weaknesses. A soul mate accepts you just as you are without any changes. A soul mate believes in you.

Acceptance empowers, encourages, comforts. It is the greatest gift one person can give another. No wonder so many people search for a soul mate. Not many realize they have to learn how to be one.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Don't Expect What You Cannot Get

Two very different people decide to spend their lives together. Now they must agree on many things. They no longer can call all of the shots or be in charge of every decision. The big question: How can I be who I am and still be connected to you?

Sometimes one partner tries to be in charge. He/she pushes the other one to see things the way he/she sees them, because his/her way is the "right" way. Maybe the other person cannot change his position without losing self. Learn to negotiate and to seek to understand.

Use words like: Tell me more about the way you see it. I hear you that right? What are the feelings? Any more thoughts that I need to consider? How can we make a decision in which we can both get some of what we want?

Most things are not all right or all wrong. They fall somewhere in between. You do not want to change each other. You want to make your differences bring you a fuller richer life.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Talking and Listening

We learn to speak and to listen as children growing up in all kinds of separate worlds.

Differences abound even if we speak the same language. Thousands of books have been written about communication and still one of the most difficult tasks of soul mates is to understand each other. The goal is understanding. Agreement is not essential.

One of the biggest differences couples have to overcome is what Deborah Tanner, linguistic expert, calls "genderlects." It simply means men and women learn different ways of speaking and hearing. Remember that when you feel frustrated trying to talk or listen to your soul mate.

Talking and listening skills lead to understanding. Read my book, "Becoming Soul Mates" to find out more.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate!

Celebrations give life and excitement to your relationship.

Soul mates celebrate anything and everything--anniversaries of a first date, engagement, wedding; holidays of all kinds; birthdays; the beginning and ending of seasons; and especially each other.

Guys, do you sometimes wonder why your special person can get excited about flowers or cards? Part of the reason is that women love to tell other women the great things their man has done for them. Her friends say, "Wow! You are lucky. I wish I had a guy like that." It makes her feel affirmed as someone who is truly loved and lucky as well. When she feels loved and loving, you benefit, of course.

Relationship Is a Noun

Someone asked why I use the word "relationship" instead of the word "relationships".

The dictionary lists the word relationship as a noun and defines it as "connection or connected to somebody". The ultimate relationship is marriage. Noted family therapist, Carl Whitaker, said, "The greatest ordeal in life is marriage. It is the central focus for enlightenment and the natural therapeutic process in the culture."

Becoming soul mates is something you must consciously learn to do.

It requires letting go of defenses and being willing to learn and grow. Couples who blame and defend simply cannot become soul mates. Fron the time we learn to walk and talk we defend ourselves to survive. Letting go can make you scared and vulnerable. It does not come naturally. That is what makes relationship difficult.

Monday, February 25, 2008

How Important Can Cards Be?

My husband grew up in a family where greeting cards were not exchanged. Birthdays were not a big deal. In my family on our birthdays, we were the King or Queen for the day. We didn't have much money, but attention doesn't cost anything and there were always cards purchased or hand made.

This difference was a source of hurt feelings and misunderstandings. Everett said that cards were a rip off. I said cards were a great way to express love. One birthday Ev said, "Get in the car. I want to show you something." He took me to the card counter at a nearby store. He went straight to a certain card, picked it up and handed it to me. "There. That is the card I would give you if I bought cards.

Everett has learned that cost is not as important as the message your soul mate gets from you. He even gives me cards on Easter now. One year on my birthday he gave me two cards--one sweet and sentimental, the other one funny and sexy. I still have them both!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Let the Little Things Go

My husband has a tendency to leave drawers, doors and jam jars open. At first that irritated me and I asked him to please try to remember to close them. He tries to remember but I think he was born with the opening reflex and the closing reflex is missing. It still irritates me, but I realize it is not a conscious thing with him. On a scale of 1-10 in importance it is right at the bottom so I have learned to let it go. It's not that hard to close drawers myself. We even sometimes joke about it. I have to admit that sometimes I close things loudly.

When something Everett does or doesn't do irritates me, I ask myself two questions, "How important is it?" and "If I say something, will he do it differently?" Usually the answers are "not important" and "no". So I let it go. I also remind myself that I probably do a lot of little things that irritate him and he likes me anyway.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Where is Your Focus?

Everyone I know has an equal amount of strengths and weaknesses. How you live your life will depend on which you focus. If you focus on your weaknesses it gives them power and they can overwhelm and discourage you. If you focus on your strengths, you can lead a very productive life.

A couple who focuses on each other's strengths has twice as many strengths together. The weaknesses become less important. If they focus on each other's weaknesses they have twice as many weaknesses and it is hard enough to live with our own weaknesses. A couple with twice as many strengths is powerful and can live with confidence and joy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What Did You Expect?

Most of us go into marriage with unrealistic expectations. What did you expect? Has it been better than you thought or have you felt let down?

You may have thought you could give your person the love they never got in childhood. That could lead to a big surprise. Then there are the practical questions. Who does what and who decides? Who decides what color to paint the house, what kind of car to buy, how we decorate, how we manage our money, do we have children and if so, how many? All of these questions and how both of you can continue to be who you are. No wonder relationship is difficult!

It helps if you each identify these expectations and share that with each other. Then laugh about it and talk about how you can get some of what you want. The "having children" question should have been thoroughly discussed before getting married. Don't expect your spouse to change his/her mind.

One way of working through this is to write down your expectations and then give them a value rating from 1-10. Then the differences can be resolved on the basis of what is most important to each person. No blaming and keep your sense of humor. You are in the process of getting to know the person you love.