Tag: divorced mom

Marriage

Swirl, Sniff, and Sip Your Way to Setting Expectations

In marriage and relationships, in general, we have expectations of one another. We expect certain behaviors and actions of our husbands or partners and when they do not deliver, we become disappointed. Among co-workers, we expect the same and when the outcome is derailed, we become frustrated. So what to do? Grab a glass of Merlot, swirl, sniff, sip and come back to some senses.

Fortunately, in friendships we somehow understand each other. There’s a sisterhood that we are connected to, a bond that is unbreakable and therefore, unconditional love exudes. Often times, we can have a conversation and we know what the other will say. At times, we don’t want to hear the criticism, but we accept it because we know they have our best interest in mind.

So why is marriage or intimate relationships so different?

Eve, expectations are great opportunities to set your relationships and yourself up for failure or great success. This depends on whether it is:  1) a reasonable expectation based on the situation and relationship; 2) clearly communicated and concerns are voiced, heard and addressed; and finally 3) mutually understood and agreed upon by all involved. Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?  

In Pearls of Grace, I’ve described each step
to set expectations.

Wow, Grace, that’s a lot to take in, but definitely useful information. I wonder how I will be in my next relationship. I will certainly set expectations to pave a successful companionship.

Well, Eve, the more intimate the relationship the more important it is to work on expectations. Your friends, no matter how close you are, will not have the same level of intimacy, commitment, passion and complexity that a life partner will have in your life. These are all different roles and as I mentioned in number three, stepping into someone’s shoes can actually help you walk together on the same path. This may prevent you and your partner from going your separate ways.  



I think it’s time to role play and eat cake!!! Are you ready?  Take 2.

I think you’re right, but not about baking a cake. It’s time for swirl, sniff, snip.

Marriage

Seeing with the Eyes of Your Heart and Soul

“Pray, Parlez and Play” resonated with me. I agree, Grace, that following your motto would definitely keep adults connected with God, our lovers and ourselves. Straying from God is something I know well, which I am embarrassed to say. But you know me, and you this to be true. Often, I have placed others first and neglected the spirit that lingers within me. During times of trouble, I tap into this spirit and it welcomes me home.

I need to be true to myself. Speak to myself from the heart and believe in myself as God believes in me to fulfill what he has planned. He has given me something great to believe in and I have been running away from it. No longer will I escape, neglect or sabotage what I know is meant for me.

A playground is awaiting…Grace. I am dressed to play, get dirty and have fun. Guess what, it’s also very colorful in my world now.

Guiding Lesson
Jeremiah 29: 11-14

“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.  When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the LORD, and I will change your lot.”

Eve, remember these words.  Etch them into your heart.  Do not let the world try to seduce you into forgetting this.  This is a struggle within you that is constantly happening.  It’s time to wake up and see with the eyes of your heart and soul.  This may require making some changes so that your vision stays in focus.  Here’s something to think about:

What if you began to wake up and fall asleep giving thanks to God for where you are right now?  This means to be grateful for “WHAT IS,” whether healthy or sick, prospering or struggling, relating or alone, full or empty, succeeding or failing, etc.  Can you look beyond the good and bad moment and see the true blessings?

Now, there will be days that you may be at a very low point and this is when you will know if you truly live in gratitude or only reach for it when you get what you want. In tough times, you need to take a deeper dive, removing all the clutter and see with the eyes of a child.  These eyes are in awe that the sky is blue. The sun gives warmth.  The birds sing for the world every morning whether you notice them or not.  God decides to give you another breath, again and again, and again…even though you didn’t ask or pray about it.  The earth generously produces another meal for your table.  The rain once again refreshes the world around you.  The seasons, without your invitation, revisit and bring their gifts again and again.

What don’t you notice that your heart and soul desire to give thanks if only you would step into life and see with a wider lens?  What about everything that is happening in your body that you don’t see, yet keeps you alive and well? And then can you magnify your soul to see your internal gifts that are waiting for you and become a living expression of gratitude? You know, like gifts of peace, of love, of joy.  I know I’ve shared this before that your situation (good or bad) should not dictate your ability to live life with or without these gifts.  It is so important to unlearn that life events have greater power than your free will to choose and cultivate these unseen gifts.  For peace, love and joy, though invisible have greater impact than anything visible.  That is why it is important to even look beyond the blessing you see to experience greater gifts you can’t see. For what appears to be a blessing may not be and what appears to be a misfortune is really a great fortune that you chose not to miss.  

Are you beginning to see the abundance of the gifts that God gives?  And there is even more…so much more to receive?

Yes, Eve, God does have wonderful plans for you.  They begin by receiving “What Is” in front of you so you can experience Divine Abundance around you.  Living in this state opens your eyes to the plans and path God has for you. Why don’t we go for a drive?  Let’s put the roof down and open our eyes to the wonder all around us and within us so God can work through us.

Love always,
Grace

Pearls of Grace

5 Spiritual Lessons to Live, Learn and Laugh

Eve, it’s great that you are taking time to reflect on your marriage with Adam and integrate the lessons to move forward. Integration has the power to heal the past, live with gratitude in the present and trust the path for the future. The opposite of this is compartmentalizing which separates, erects walls and leaves you disjointed between your body, mind, heart and soul. So let’s take a look at the lessons you’ve learned.

Lesson #1 – No Substitute Can Replace the Real Thing

If God is not number one then whatever you replace him with will never suffice your deepest desire. The reality is that God is the longing, yearning, hunger of your soul. There is a hole that you may continue to try to fill with addictions, indulgences, possessions, power or prestige. Yet, you will come up short, exhausted, broke, hung over, etc. every time.  No substitute can replace the real thing. It must, however, be freely chosen and received. God will never force himself on you since true love only exists in the state of freedom. So how will you remain free to choose God above everything?  This takes practice and being self aware of how you spend the most time, your money and how you choose or not choose to share your gifts and talents?

Teresa of Avila wrote, “Nada te turbe; nada te espante; todo se pasa; Dios no se muda, la pacïencia todo lo alcanza. Quien a Dios tiene, nada le falta. Solo Dios basta.” Translation:  “Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you; All things pass away, God never changes.  Patience obtains all things; He who has God find he lacks nothing, God alone suffices.”

Lesson #2 — The Word has Great Power, Spoken or Not

Eve, communication is key to the human connection. It begins in our mother’s womb. With a subtle or not so subtle kick, movement or even hiccups, the child is sharing his or her world with her. The mother in turn smiles, places her hand on her belly that is ever growing or may simply talk or sing. This verbal or non-verbal communication is the beginning of a dialogue that continues until the last breath.

The dilemma lies in the manner you communicate and the manner in which you are open to receive the other. Are you sharing with them what is best for “we” or only thinking of “me?”  I agree it’s important to share your feelings, however, how you do it will lead down different paths. Remember, most of the communication is non-verbal. Sometimes the receiver already has made up their mind about how they feel before you even speak one word.

In relationships, both parties must commit to constant learning of how to express and receive messages from each other. Keep in mind that what works for you may not work for the other. There are many communication styles, tools and studies. It is possible to dialogue and feel valued, respected and heard in a relationship with two people who communicate very differently. The real key is to care for the other and the relationship while sharing your needs; commit as a couple to working at communicating respectfully; and connect with the love you have for each other using verbal and non-verbal ways.

Now read the following, which you have probably heard or read many times, but now it may have a greater meaning after discussing the topic of communication:

John 1:1 and 14
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

So you see, Eve, the word has great power, whether spoken or not. How will you and your future partner choose to echo it to bring about a greater sense of self worth, healing and respect instead of causing wounds and scars that are passed on?  After all, both parties are wounded healers who can choose to communicate good or bad news with love.

Lesson 3:  Pause so You Can Reflect

Eve, this one intrigues me. I had to think about this and listen to what your heart and soul were really trying to say. If you don’t object, I’d like to add to this statement.

From my understanding silence appears to be the root cause that you have identified as being the problem in an argument. Could this be just a symptom versus the problem?  The reason I say this is that sometimes it’s important to pause so you can reflect what you (including your partner) are trying to achieve in an argument, defuse any negative emotions that are not constructive and create space that allows the breath of love to revive your minds, hearts and souls.

What I see and hear is that being ignored and feeling like you don’t matter is the real issue.  Keep in mind that two people can be talking and still ignore and walk out on each other with their emotions, words, non-verbal gestures, etc., yet still be talking.  In addition, some people process things differently while others can quickly process (such as yourself) and still stay engaged in the disagreement. Having said this, what seems to be necessary is to stay connected in disagreements and still honor yourself and the other while not ignoring the love and the hope of the relationship. Sometimes a time out is important. I believe Jonathan and David have had several time outs that have helped them resolve issues, become more self aware and offered forgiveness because of it.

Adults also need timeouts. In a healthy and ideal situation, the partner who needs a timeout would have to express this need and commit to re-engaging within a certain amount of time that is agreed upon.  This keeps the dialogue flowing even in the silence that becomes sacred and not disrespectful towards the other.  It’s okay to process events differently. It’s not okay to take a timeout without expressing this need your partner. It is a relationship that requires both parties to relate so that the ship stays intact.

Lesson #4 – Build a Home on the Same Ground

Eve, I say “Amen” to this!  How beautifully put. You can build a lovely house, but the foundation is what makes it valuable and helps it endure through the good and bad times.  But is the foundation you want to build on the same ground as your partner’s?  You probably need to start by clearly defining what makes up your foundation.  This will help you determine if you are aligned with the other. It is always important to start with “you” instead of having great expectations of the other yet not holding yourself accountable.

I think this would be a good time to think about what are the non-negotiables that will create a strong foundation to build upon. It will be a little different than when you met Adam. At this point in time you must consider your boys, the lessons learned and your new dreams for the future that did not exist back then.

Eve, it is time to re-evaluate where you attempted to construct a home and what caused it to destruct.  Figure this out and don’t settle unless you are on solid ground. It’s well worth the investment! 

Lesson #5 – Pray, Parlez and Play

Eve, play dates are essential for everyone, whether you are in a relationship or not. My message is always remember to “Pray, Parlez (French for “speak”) and Play so you don’t stray from God, yourself and your lover.” It may sound corny, but it is what breathes life into your relationship.

So what ideas do you have?  I know your mind is thinking of many ways you can do this since you are so full of life. By not playing you are depriving yourself of who you are. If everyone took time to play, adults would create a world that is more colorful, inclusive and forgiving since you are having fun.  And isn’t it said that laughter is the best medicine?  Maybe, on a simplistic base, that’s why there seems to be more diseases popping up.

Please don’t wait to meet someone to practice any of these lessons. Begin now. Start with having a play date with you. I think you’re a blast to be around. Enjoy it. Go out and do what you love. You can include your boys who are the subject matter experts in this field.  So live, learn and laugh because these are the building blocks to calling true love into your life. 

Love always,
Grace

Marriage

5 Lessons I Learned After Marriage

Sometimes we get married without fully understanding the complexities of this new dynamic. In the landscape of a marriage, peaks and valleys mark milestones and challenges that were either celebrated or overcome. I ask myself today, “What lessons did I learn in marriage?” Given that I don’t want to live my life like a soap opera as one of the characters that relives the same lesson with different lovers or die and yet don’t really die,” as you put it, Grace, then I need to be reflective.

Lesson #1 – Placing Number One on Top of the List

In my marriage, God was not a priority. Actually, Grace, Adam didn’t acknowledge God. He would laugh at me when I went to church so I felt discouraged to go at times. I know in my future relationship, I’m putting God first. With God, all things are possible and I have faith that he will take care of everything for me.

Lesson #2 — Communication is Key

Communication is so important to marriage and in any relationship. Whether it’s expressing myself or letting others, communicating what we feel, think or believe opens space for so much more. When I can freely communicate my feelings without being invalidated, I know I am respected and valued. When I can articulate my opinion without being patronized, I know I am respected and valued. When I can share my beliefs without being snickered at, I know I am respected and valued.

Lesson #3 – Silence is not Golden

In conflict, I don’t want to accept the silent treatment. I feel being ignored is one of the cruelest forms of emotional abuse. I feel like I don’t belong, like I’m invisible and this just doesn’t sit well with me. If there is conflict, I would much rather discuss it openly and immediately to resolve the differences and come to an agreement or compromise.

Lesson #4 – A Home is as Good as its Foundation

God is at the base of any good home. I realize that building a home requires a solid foundation from which to hold up the walls and ceilings. If God, in addition to our values and beliefs, is the foundation, then it is up to us to construct the walls, spending time together to pray, be present to the moments that God gives us and live in gratitude for what we have been blessed with. The ceilings we apply are only there to set clear boundaries, expectations and commitments to each one living in the home. They are not meant to be constricting, but symbolize the loyalties to one another to be faithful and committed to each other.

Lesson #5 – Scheduling Adult Play Dates

Adam and I failed to schedule time to play and have fun as adults. We forgot the playfulness and flirtations of a new relationship. We forgot to make time to be with each other. We forgot the foreplay of having sex. Actually, Grace, we forgot sex! I have vowed to not let this happen again. I know in our busy schedules, we don’t make time for our own play dates, but rather schedule our kids’ play dates and extracurricular activities. But I figure, I better schedule mine with my future partner, before he decides to schedule his own extracurricular activities like Adam did!

If I can remember these lessons and apply them as criteria for my next relationship, I’m one step ahead and one less statistic for a second divorce. Oh, my, did I really think that?!

Visit in the next day to learn what Grace shares on Pearls of Grace