Tag: marriage counseling

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

Marriage

Spider Webs are Works of Art

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined someone having so much anger for their spouse that they would try to destroy something that mattered so much in their life. Obviously, I’m talking about my computer, Grace. I realize it’s a material object, but what worries me is the symbolism behind destroying something of value that means a great deal and what could be next.

What if he drinks and takes Ambien again? What could be next? Or who could be next? On one hand, I strongly believe Adam would never hurt me. On the other hand, if he was “dreaming” or “sleep walking” as he thought he did when he microwaved my Macbook, what if he does it again? Deep down, I don’t believe Adam would do it. I know he wouldn’t.

He regretted his mistake so much. I could hear it in his voice. I sternly spoke to him, discussing the various situations I could bring up with the attorney to make the divorce much more difficult for him, but I wasn’t going to do it. I know that he truly didn’t mean to hurt me. The following Sunday, we went to the store to buy a new Macbook.

Adam’s action and decisions to behave in this manner really make me reflect on how much entangled we get in relationships. Together, we weave intricate webs that we can’t untangle so we try to tear them apart without realizing the many layers that we have to get passed to leave behind our past.

Guiding Lesson: Eve, microwaving your laptop baffles me as well.  But then again, a divorce is like going into an emotional battlefield.  This is just as deadly as the combat our troops face in the Middle East today.  No knows how to walk a ground filled with mines or when and how the other side will choose to attack.  The fact is, in both types of battle, people will be wounded and peace seems like a far distant memory.

As you stated, you and Adam are entangled in many intricate webs that it will take time to unravel.  The urge is to cut the ties quickly which it appears like Adam is trying to do.  However, some areas of your marriage are filled with unruly knots and will take time to untie.  The knot, you and Adam tied, began many years ago on your wedding day so not all of the knots were bad.  Your children are part of that.  What I would suggest is to focus on the unhealthy emotional ties including the lies, betrayal, lack of support, lack of intimacy, etc.  Maybe the goal is to recreate one new web where the children are the center, which is your connection to Adam. Remember, a spider’s web is a work of art and it doesn’t have to be something destructive.

Well, I can at least say that the intensity of divorce will not last forever.  Like war, it too will pass.  The goal is to have as few casualties as possible as you untie the messy knots.  The key to accomplishing this is having at least one person who can think rationally and keep the children’s best interest in mind.

Eve, are you up to challenge because it doesn’t appear that Adam, in his current condition, has the capability to do this right now?  I know you are strong and have the intelligence and compassion to create a new type of relationship with Adam.  This will also provide healing as you work through this moment.  It won’t be easy and as always I’ll be there.

Grace

 

Marriage

Solitude is the Answer to Loneliness

Valentine’s Day was a day to reflect on my love of a relationship. Whether it’s getting ready in the morning, having dinner together or sharing the parenting responsibility, I realized just how much I truly enjoy having a partner to experience the everyday things in life. I’m fully aware that my perspective on marriage and relationships is based on always being in a relationship and never being alone.

Grace, the more I think about being alone, the more difficult it is for me to jump right in and accept it. I mentally and emotionally struggle with the complexities of being alone, suffering of what I feel is abandonment, and feeling as I was rejected. At the same time, I also realize that I need to experience the process of being alone. I also know that I won’t be alone. I will have God, my friends and family. But to be honest with you, Grace, having those people around me is not the same as having someone next to me in bed or getting butterfly feelings in my tummy.

I yearn to have someone next to me for so many reasons. And Valentine’s Day doesn’t make it any easier when thinking about my situation. I think I’ll just indulge in a well-deserved Red Velvet cupcake. Cupcakes always bring a smile to my face and a satisfying feeling in my tummy, may not be butterfly feelings, but they sure lift my spirits. =)

Guiding Lesson: Your heart may not be leaping for joy but your stomach sure did as you bit into that seductive red velvet cupcake!    Yes, Eve, it is wonderful to share each moment, whether big or small with that special someone.  Life is filled with many events and the good times are multiplied when you have that person who makes your heart sing.  So what do you do when you don’t have anyone who fills this role in your life?  What are you supposed to do when the loneliness is so great that it feels like an endless dark cloud that doesn’t lift?

Well there is an answer to these questions.  The only thing that can overcome loneliness is helping to, with God’s grace, transform it into solitude.  Eve, solitude is the answer to loneliness.  It is a place where you begin to enjoy your own company and look forward to spending time with yourself.  You discover that you are a great companion.  In this state you are able to find a healthy companion to share your life with.  However, if you are not able to learn to enjoy the quiet moments with yourself, you may find that it will be difficult to attract healthy relationships.  What you will attract are people who might be more self-absorbed and your role will be to take care of them.  They won’t see your value but your neediness to have a relationship and hence they will find a use for you.

You don’t need to take my guidance.  The loneliness factor in the world is tremendous.  If you sit still and listen you will hear the people mourning and longing for a significant other.  You have a choice to join in or to look at loneliness in the eye and befriend it.  Don’t run away into someone else’s arms because you will eventually experience the sting of loneliness again.  It is like cancer.  If you don’t deal with it correctly, it may return and become terminal.

It is easier said than done.  Loneliness does not transform into solitude over night.  In fact, when you first arrive, you will need to learn to breathe in this new space because it will feel like you are in a different universe than what you are used to.  Paying attention to your breathing will be important so that you can then move into becoming present before your Divine Lover.  Remember, God wants to give you the desires of your heart.  But he can’t if you are working against his will.  Your breath, your stillness, your trust and your faithfulness will provide the opening for God to lead you both to each other.  I promise that if you are faithful to sitting still in God’s presence and embracing your self-worth, you will be lead to solitude, to peace, to joy.  In this state, you will encounter someone who also is able to see your self-worth because they see their own.  They have also allowed their loneliness to be transformed into solitude.  You will not be strangers because your souls have made the journey to meet before you actual meet in person.  Once you meet him, you will have a soulful experience like you’ve never had before.

So my question is, what is greater, your immediate self-gratification or trusting in God’s Will that he has someone for you that is worthy of your love?  Only you can answer this.  Know that God is a God of Love.  True, healthy and faithful love comes from him.  Are you willing to give in to loneliness or embrace solitude?

Here is a short prayer that you can say:  “Dear God, send me the person who is deserving of my love because I trust in your will for me.”

Grace

 

Divorce

In Divorce, Everyone Feels the Pain

I feel the tension in the house, Grace. We decided to timeshare the house and when Adam sees me leave, he is angry. Dressed in heels to go out and with luggage in my hand, off I go for another week. I can’t imagine anyone enjoying the time away from their house, their comfort, their safe place. I don’t have my own bed to sleep in during the week that Adam has custody. When I return for my week with the boys, the emptiness of my bedroom is felt by the cold air from behind the closed doors.

I can tell Adam’s been drinking quite a bit. I know. As you remember, for the first three months I drank with my best friend, Merlot, consoled by the divine spirit. Now, it is Adam’s turn to feel the sting and pain of reality. I don’t wish this on him, but I didn’t realize how much hurt he feels when I leave. He told me he doesn’t like when I get dressed to go out because he doesn’t know if I’m going out with someone else.

As far as I’m concerned, there is no going back with Adam. I’m done with that chapter in the book and the old song is retired. I go upstairs to unpack my bags, ready to spend a blessed week with the boys. Adam is saying his “goodbyes.” The boys are crying and Adam’s eyes begin to water. Everyone feels the pain, the well of emotion overflows.

Guiding Lesson: Eve, this must be gut-wrenching. Everyone is so raw with emotions that are bleeding out as loss of yesterday is felt with each good bye. The life that everyone once knew has been dismantled and is becoming a distant memory. All of you seem to be trying to get your footing but stumbling from the intense sadness and grief. You and your family are walking in a daze, a dream, or better yet a nightmare, that you can’t wake up from.  You are having a hard time hearing a new song being played but hear notes that are flat and begging to stop.

Yet, I can tell in your heart you are holding on to the hope of tomorrow even though today it seems far away.  It takes great faith, strength and courage to take each new step when there is so much darkness all around. The glimmer of hope and faith of a new song provide the light, even though it is small, to guide you on this new and unfamiliar path.

Eve, your great faith will free you from this moment and be your saving grace.  Life has a way of pushing you off the cliff, testing your spirit and dragging your heart through great anguish in hopes that you will live a life that is more real, more compassionate and involves less ego. The is what I call Divine open heart surgery. All I can say is trust and know you are in good hands, the best most loving hands you will ever be in.

Grace