1888 – Letters Show Women Who Create Happy Marriages Pick Well & Are Mature

About a year ago, I picked up a book from the library thinking it would be an interesting read.  I had no idea I was picking up a book written by a feminist author, who’s agenda was clear and intriguing through all it’s 400 pages.  I’m so glad I read it, as it helped me to understand from a feminist perspective, the lies that are promoted about women and marriage.

Although there could possibly be 100 different post ideas or more from this one gem of a feminist book, one of the more interesting ones to me that caught my attention, was centered on what creates happiness in marriage.

So what creates happiness in marriage?

According to feminism, it’s all on the man.  He has to meet all her needs first, no matter how outlandish they are, and then she’ll meet his needs in return, like a reward for letting her get her way.  He has to accept her the way she is, or the way she will let herself physically and emotionally become (if she gains weight or acquires a contentious spirit after marriage), and he can’t ask her to change because that would be uncomfortable for her to face her faults.  It’s the whole “Happy Wife, Happy Life,” meme… if “Mamma Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!”

And that is very true.  If the mom/wife decides to not be happy, to be miserable even though she has a good man, has a nice house, has more than enough money and has the blessings of children, then everyone in the house will suffer because of it.  It comes down to immaturity or lack of character.  If a woman cannot earnestly create a happy marriage with a normal, good man, then she is failing not only herself, but also her husband and even failing her children.

It’s my opinion that it’s fairly easy to create a happy marriage.

Unless you’re married to a AAA man who’s truly abusive, or an alcoholic, or a philanderer, (Abuse/Alcohol/Affairs), men are simple and are quite easy to make happy or content.  So the AAA issues aside, in my opinion, it’s the wife who has a lot of control in either creating or destroying their marriage from the inside out.  A woman who is not married to a AAA member, and who is still harping on minor things like jealousy over his hobbies, flying into emotional rages, making everyone miserable in her household, is selfish and has never learned how to become a mature woman.

This expectation that a wife needs to be mature, is something that society thinks is asking too much of her.  It’s the man’s responsibility to do everything the way she wants it right?  He’s supposed to make her happy… never mind that she actually controls her own happiness.

So it seems that not only must a woman pick well (avoid the AAA types and personalities), but also she must grow into maturity in order to accept her part in creating a beautiful marriage.

Back to feminist book I read a year ago, in describing the “New Woman in England,” the author talked about a Mona Caird, who was the first one to bring this issue to the public, and wrote an article in 1888 entitled, “Marriage,” that was published in the Westminister Review.  Her article received no less than 27,000 letters sent in as the public responded to her claims about marriage.

Caird pronounced marriage “a failure.”  Because a wife was still subject to a “system of purchase,” she was forced to develop her moral standards “in accordance with her servitude to man.”  A wife did not honor her own intelligence, education, or chastity, except to the extenet that it was “relative” to her husband.  …

Because the wife’s virtues “belong” to her husband, he sees himself “dishonoured” by any of her failings.  the idea that a man’s honor can be injured by his wife’s infidelity is, in Caird’s eyes, “a most naive proclamation of the theory of proprietorship.” …

Caird offered a number of radical proposals to alter this state of “degrading bondage” (aka marriage).  One solution was to reject marriage altogether.  this was the option taken by “an increasing number of women… refusing a life of comparative ease in marriage, rather than enter upon it as a means of livelihood, for which their freedom has to be sacrificed.”

I found in reading the short clips from the marriages that they could be separated into two groups: Happy or Miserable, and within the Miserable Marriage group, into 4 more separations: Abuse, Alcohol, Affairs, or Immaturity.  Here are some of these women’s personal thoughts from 1888.  I found them all fascinating, and it comforting to know that people really haven’t changed that much.  That even over 100 years ago, women were either capable of creating a beautiful marriage, or were only focused on themselves and whether or not all their circumstances were perfect.

Miserable Marriages in 1888:

“I must say I concur in the suggestion that greater facilities should be afforded for divorce.  Let me cite my own case.  My husband is a helpless drunkard.  It is true, he earns a good living and keeps me in comparative luxury; but is this an adequate consideration for the fact that i have to associate with a drunken, besotted husband five nights out of seven?”

-Lucretia

“I should indeed be grateful to Mrs. Mona Caird, or to anybody else, who would show us unhappily married folk a decent way out of our difficulties.  Marriage, in my case, has been a miserable failure, simply because my husband and I do not suit each other.  Ours is a clear case of incompatibility, proved beyond all doubt by the almost daily jarring and wrangling of some fourteen years.…  We have both broken every vow we made to each other on our wedding day, save one; and being highly moral, if nothing else, we must still endure, wearing out our days in mutual misery, and darkening and embittering our children’s lives by a loveless and joyless home… ” -A TIRED WIFE

“I myself am a deserted wife, and my husband has treated me with exceptional contempt and unkindness, but I am proud to say that so great is my reverence for the sanctity of the marriage vow, that if my husband sent for me to return to him to-morrow, I would go, and with a hearty will and friendly affection strive to do my duty to him.  -A City Merchant’s Wife

“I married, unthinkingly, a man whom I did not love.  I thought that perhaps I might grow to care for him, but I did not do so….  As I am his wife, I consider that I ought to stay with him, but my whole soul revolts against being tied to a man for whom I have no particle of love, and who, in tastes, character, pursuits, is my direct opposite.  I reflect how much better a woman I should have been had love and not duty, ruled me…. ”  -MATRIMONIAL ADVENTURER

“My partner and I suffer from a total incompatibility of disposition.  We do not quarrel but there is an absolute want of sympathy – an absolute antipathy of every thought and feeling…  I believe there would be fewer fretful, unhappy, and brokendown wives if husbands would see that their wives had amusements and occupations, apart from domestic matters….  Another case of “Failure” in marriage is the objection English husbands have to their wives being independent in money matters… Few men realise how humiliating it is to a woman of independent spirit to ask for every sixpence, nor the spirit of bitterness and rebellion that it engenders….  ” -A LOST LIFE

The Happily Married women of 1888 who were part of the 27,000 letter response will be featured tomorrow, along with their secrets to what made a marriage happy even then.  Will it be the same things that make marriages happy today?

(Quotes and excerpt taken from A History of the Wife, by Marilyn Yalom)

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Avoiding a Victim Mentality & Pursuing Joy

I’ve been wondering for awhile what makes some people fall into a Victim Mentality, what makes them acquire a personality that truly believes that their life and what happens to them, is out of their control (and sometimes, the control of God).

I love taking my son over to spend time with his grandparents, I get time to talk to my dad about life, ideas, and just enjoy his and my mom’s presence.  Maybe its being 6 months pregnant, but its nice to be able to go over there, and relax and be taken care of with my mom creating homemade sodas for us, slushies with her margarita machine, ordering pizzas, or the latest new treat this last weekend… White Chocolate Covered Popcorn (so amazingly delicious). 

I wanted to ask my dad his thoughts on why a person might fall into a victim mentality way of thinking, we’ve both seen horrible things happen in our family and even in our own circumstances, but even in facing certain horrible life situations where we both at that time, were a victims, neither of us have fallen into victimization.  My dad emits a usually positive and joyful attitude, he has his faults too of course, but overall he takes life’s phases and trials with a grain of salt.

He also has a progressive bone disease that he found out about when I was 9 called osteoporosis, where he has to be extremely careful – any slip or minor fall could end him up in a wheel chair for the rest of his life.  His attitude in the midst of this is choosing positivity. Aside from avoiding truly dangerous situations (water parks), he doesn’t let this hold him back.  He goes to our beautiful downtown riverwalk and power walks super fast – enjoying the beautiful view and the broken and diseased body that he can still do many things with.  His walking efforts have even paid off, his bone density has actually increased (which is something not usually seen with osteoporosis).  Its amazing what the mind can achieve over the body when it truly embraces the joy of being alive, and of understanding that we have more control over how we decide to live than we would think to imagine.

He told me when talking this last weekend, about another person who had a major accident that resulted in them having to live life differently.  This man’s accident left him having excruciating pain in his body for the rest of his life, to make matters worse, the doctors told him that he had to be very careful, or any sudden movement could be the end for him.

He finally went to a doctor that really looked at his spine… he found that it was fused together, and had very little to no chance of breaking suddenly.  The doctor’s attitude was matter of fact,

“Well you can decide that you can live with this, or you can decide that you can’t….”

He gave him the permission to do as much as he could do physically, in tolerating the pain… exercising, being active, and getting out were allowed.  This simple attitude of “Well… its your choice how you deal with this,”  changed this man immediately, awakening his consciousness of his control over his own life.  He had slowly hobbled in to the office, walking crippled and bent over – afraid that any step might be the end of his fragile spine… but he literally ran, leaping out of this doctor’s office, his pain momentarily suspended in the pure joy he felt in realizing he was free.

 

My dad reiterated that “some people make it, and some people just don’t.”  Not everyone is capable of finding joy in their pain or hardships.  It is unnatural and goes against what even our brain chemicals would have us do (be overcome in depression).  But having joy in hardships is biblical, we are called to it… Jesus even said at one point, that all the things he was saying to us was SO THAT we could have a joy like His (John 15:11).  I’m in a great Bible study this fall that has breeched the beautiful topic of having joy amidst our hardships or crises.

 

I want to be known as someone who has a lot of joy… to me, if I can leave that impression on others as a “legacy,” I’ll feel like my life was lived well… I’ll feel like I achieved the greatest success.

Why Women Don’t Want Nice Husbands

After writing the article on why Women Don’t Want Nice Men, for singles, I decided that another article was needed in application to marriage, and exactly why women don’t really want to be married to “nice” husbands… or why they so often fall out of love with them.

Just like in the Single article, I want to point out that “nice” and “kind” are two different things; “Niceness exists because he feels he has to be that way, it’s forced and unnatural – women are not drawn to this.  Kindness is thoughtful and tender, it’s intentional, and much more of a turn-on.”

I explained in the Single article how Christianity in particular, often sets men up for failure in finding their true masculinity.  Men are told they have to be the spiritual leaders, but it’s clear that if they don’t go along with what their wife wants, they are being a bad, un-submissive husband. (Irony Much??)

Too many women won’t allow for their husbands to lead, to really trust them to make the right decisions for them, and relinquish their control.  It can be in the littlest things, such as letting your husband dress your children (not “correcting” him or making it a big deal if he gets your daughter’s dress on backwards), or help you around the house without criticizing how he does things.  But often it’s even in the big things, like letting your husband decide where your family will attend church (not forcing him to go to one he doesn’t feel right or comfortable in), or a particular Sunday school class, etc.  This problem can be so extensive to the degree that whatever the husband wants to lead his family into, he’s met with criticism and “suggestions,” to do things the wife’s way.  This is emasculation.

So women end up with emasculated husbands that eventually, are not even attractive to their wives anymore, even though they are the ones who partially set them up to be that way.  It’s a combination of our society and the effects of feminism crushing masculinity, as well as men being comfortable in this state of passiveness.  The issue is brought to light when the wife realizes that this isn’t what she wants.

The problem is that Jesus wasn’t just another “nice guy,” he was brave, kind, and caring, but full of strength, passion, and masculinity.  The masculinity of Christ is something you’ve probably never heard discussed in church, but it is there.

 Sometimes women unconsciously seek out men who are nice or passive, so that they won’t have constant fights over decisions – they subconsciously choose a man who won’t stand up to them, or challenge their point of view.  The problem with this is that these women never really gain respect for their husbands, and eventually, come to resent that they have to make the bulk of decisions, and carry a load bigger than a healthy marriage would allow.  They know it isn’t right, they know he should help more or be more engaged, but their very actions (and maybe his own natural temperament) puts the couple in a double bind.  How can it be fixed?

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about, it happens more often than you’d think, especially with our culture of man-hating, more and more women are falling into this trap of wanting to:

“Sarah and her husband have been married fifteen years.  She described marrying him because he was so nice.  I immediately came back with the suggestion that she made that choice because it put her in control.  Now she sees his being “nice” as “weak,” and is frustrated with his lack of helpfulness in disciplining the children.

SARAH: We talked about it and I told him that what I wanted from him is to help me. (a reasonable request right?  you’re supposed to be in an actual marriage)….

DR. LAURA: Except he never does it right, right?

SARAH: It’s not that he doesn’t do it right.  It’s that he doesn’t do anything at all.

DR. LAURA: Because when he does it you criticize him.  Whenever he tries something, in your eyes it is inadequate.  So now he just doesn’t get involved.  This is a vicious cycle.  I suggest you bot go into counseling.  The counselor will remind you to hush up and back off and only suggest something to him.  He has to move forward on his own and not complain about not having control when he refuses to take it – albeit under the difficult circumstances of you not being willing to either give up control or share it.  If he wants to be held in respect in your eyes and the children’s eyes, he is going to have to be more aggressive, which is not naturally his nature.  He can’t blame this all on you, either!  Now, I want you to watch yourself all week and observe yourself criticizing when he does exert control.  When you do that, he figures, why bother.

SARAH: Right, that is exactly right.

DR. LAURA: So even if he only does whatever sixty percent of thetime or sixty percent of how you’d like it, it’s better than zero.  You see, Sarah, it seems wonderful to be in control, but eventually you become overwhelmed and need help and want a partner.  For example, if Johnny intentionally threw the water into the shrub, go to your husband and say, “Can you please deal with that?” and then walk out of the room.  Don’t even watch it happen.  And then – this is the most important part – say, “Thank you.”

SARAH: Okay.”

 

(quoted excerpt from Dr. Laura’s The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands)

Inspiration

Einstein-Intuitive-1024x819Intuition is something that has always inspired me – the ability to understand something, or have perception of truth or fact without any experience or reasoning process (according to dictionary.reference.com).  It seems that we value rationality more than intuitive ways of thinking, and maybe that is because rational thinking is easily qualified and proven to work in most cases.  Thinking irrationally is surely not something that is admired or to be modeled… but what if intuitive thinking is really necessary for a fuller, deeper life?

What if paying attention to your inner feelings and inhibitions can actually lead you in the right direction after-all?

I knew a man who was writing a book on Fear, and how dangerous it can be to ignore those feelings you get that warn you something bad could happen.  He was essentially talking about intuition.  The insight you feel when there could be danger, he posed that it could actually save your life to pay attention to your inner feelings considering fear, and he had many personal crime-related stories to include in it.  He thought fear was a God-given insight intended to protect when otherwise, we wouldn’t have a clue what was going to happen if we were simply thinking rationally, or relying soley on rationality.

Maybe rational thinking can come from deep reflection on intuition, many people allow their thoughts to be directed by the mystery of the unconscious when they get in touch with it by journaling things that come to mind, having moments of quiet where they focus on their breathing, or simply being able to access peace.  Before I sound like a total hippie, you can’t always pay attention to dreams and inner thoughts that really are irrational or wrong.  Your subconscious makes raw decisions and interpretations all the time, with little evidence to go on, and although these can definitely be helpful in giving insight, they can also be purely inconsequential.  The subconscious is a tool of sorts to be used, rather than the complete innate source of wisdom.  The subconscious really can get things wrong or twisted, however there are times when it can be a window into perception!

Some think that both the ability to think rationality and intuitively are both gifts, others, like Einstein, thought the true value was found in intuitive thinking.

There is one thing I definitely know for certain, creativity (especially in my experience) comes from intuition… rationality is the tailoring of that creativity into something that is workable, but it is most certainly not what drives the creation.

 

 

creat

Inspiration

beautiful ship

I feel like my mind has been elsewhere lately, not only daydreaming, but exhausted to the point of “zoning out.”  I’ve always been an 6-8 hour sleep a night kind of girl, and definitely still am.  Staying up several days in a row trying to complete things, and then trying to wake up at 5am is creating hilarious situations.  I think it finally culminated when I destroyed a couple of our dishes this week when trying to make simple applesauce.  It was another experience of filling the house with smoke, and my son asking if we could go to his favorite fast food restaurant (even though we’d already eaten).  So last night I instigated a marvelous change & relaxed in a hot bath and ate some dark chocolate.

It got me thinking how being sensual – I’m not meaning sexual – and enjoying what you experience through your senses really is the key to being “mindful.”  Being in the moment, whether it’s to listen to someone you love talking to, soul-stirring music, or the sound of nature right out of your door.  Enjoying food – really enjoying it, is simply a practice in being mindful.  Or seeing beauty, and really being able to take it in.

 

Here are some inspiring photos & things to get you in the moment:

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

 

And I’d love to sleep in this bed… (the Royal Suite at the Four Seasons in Paris, France)

royal-suite-four-seasons

The contrast of the heat and ice when viewing this photo of volcanic eruptions on Iceland

volcanoes on iceland

Beautiful shores of Switzerland

switzerland

Delicious Cheesecake dessert

cheesecake

 

And a clip of Jimmy Fallon (seriously love how funny he is) doing a show with Tom Cruise – Egg Roulette:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6jb0cOYqAI

And some beautiful music that transports you into a different realm – beautiful relaxing music for early morning or night, or to relax a moment at your desk:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euxaEYg0GB0

Men Don’t Just Want More Sex… They Want to Feel Full

Sex is intoxicating… but it is also the most misunderstood aspect of a marriage.  Most people think that a man’s general complaint is that he wants more sex, when in reality, he really wants (and needs) the most fulfilling, emotionally binding, exciting kind of sexual fulfillment… he just may not even know it.

Men crave not just sex, but a deeper emotional connection with their wives that comes from their wife actually enjoying sex with him, verbally expressing how much she craves him, and the thrill of fulfilling each other’s fantasies in the safe environment of their marriage relationship.

When a woman merely gives-in to fulfill her wifely duties or even passively tolerates a normal sex life with her husband, she is slowly killing him inside (and the passion in their marriage).  Men are much more emotionally in-tune than society generally gives them credit for, they want connection – they want that passionate sex that true lovers have.

Often if men aren’t getting this kind of sexual fulfillment from their wives, they look elsewhere outside the home… it’s honestly natural (even if it is immoral).  If their wife is prudish, always wanting the same kind of sex, or thinking about her to-do list while he’s on top of her, the man is going to feel it!  Husbands want an engaged wife – a wife that’s not afraid to let him know what feels good – or great to her!  He wants his wife to feel in-tune with her sensuality and confident enough to even make sounds if he’s really getting it right.

The last thing a man wants is lots of sex without quality over the emotional connection that comes from really great sex.

Throughout history men have always sought out prostitutes and extra marital sex.  Even today men continue to seek out skilled prostitutes (who know how to really act like they enjoy sex with their customers), strippers, phone sex (men really do love when you use your voice during sex), and the bustling online porn industry so that they can try to sate this need for their sexual fulfillment.  In my experience, most men would give up all of that to have a great sex life with their spouse; they are usually driven to these other options by being married to a woman who doesn’t understand (or sometimes even care about) their need for sexual fulfillment.

So… Surprise Him

Men love for their wife to surprise them by coming-on to them, when a wife initiates her desire like this… or throws him for a loop with a Sex-On-The-Spot kind of action, it momentarily makes him forget altogether the stresses of his job, or any other frustration he is having.  Adding variety to when, where, and how a couple has sex is incredibly fulfilling to a man (and the woman)!

Since I could literally write like 5 books on this one topic, I’m going to stop and give some ideas so that the post isn’t ridiculously long:

  • Surprise your husband with an out of the ordinary sexual experience – either the moment he comes home from work, middle of the night sex, or morning sex if those things are irregular for you

 

  • Play a game of strip poker – make sure you wear the best lingerie you have!

 

  • If you live in the country (secluded area) or have your own private swimming pool or Jacuzzi, try having sex outdoors (in privacy)

 

  • Let your husband know you want him by using some kind of code in the morning that there will be lots of action later when he gets home

 

  • Try setting up your morning routines (or evening routines) so that you take showers together sometimes… this is so sensual and gives your husband the mental images of water running over your naked body for days afterward!

 

Whatever you do, have fun and understand that he doesn’t just want more sex… he wants to feel full.

Good Advice When Faced with Criticism

Everyone is faced with criticism at some point.  I could argue that the only way to grow is to somehow face the negative feelings of being criticized.  We all at some point do something worth criticizing… we make bad choices, or we are misunderstood… it’s part of life.  People who I really admire and look up to are those that are apt at taking criticism and gleaning whatever they can out of it (if anything) to become better people.

Since failure, misunderstandings, and criticism are all a part of life, I’ve taken note of how I want to handle my own experiences with criticism now, and in the future.  Here are 3 things that I’ve come up with to jump start your new perspective on receiving unwanted criticism:

 

1) Don’t Be Rash — Take a step back and really look at where the criticism is coming from.  A good checklist I’ve used before and continue to mentally tick off are these gems:

  • Who is criticizing you?  Is it someone that knows you well?  Is it someone who you know doesn’t like you for other reasons?  Is this person seen attacking others all the time or getting into unnecessary arguments?

 

  • What are their beliefs?  Sometimes when you make a choice or move (or even dare to say something) that goes against a person’s core beliefs, even if they usually agree with you and enjoy your company in person, it can make them feel very threatened and defensive… to the point where they feel the need to step in and “set you straight.”  This is one of the reasons polite society generally avoids talking about the three inflammatory subjects: politics, religion, and sex.

 

  • Is the criticism mostly destructive?  This is probably pretty easy to distinguish, are they being helpful in pointing out particular things they disagree with, or is it more judgmental and condemning of your character.  A person who knows how to criticize well usually stays away from character judgments about the person they are trying to “help” with their criticism.  The only time where this is an exception is when you are dealing with self-righteousness (think Jesus calling into question the character of the religious hypocrites… He was not only harsh and name-calling, He dealt out character judgments right and left, because the ugly sin of self-righteousness needs it).

 

  • Is their any ounce of Truth in their criticism?  It is absolutely critical to look discerningly at a person’s criticism of you… even if they are being destructive and hurtful, is there any Truth in their words?  It takes an especially strong and mature person to admit that someone’s criticism has an aspect of Truth to it, and then seek out what they need to in order to make changes in themselves.  When you make this a habit, even if your criticizer was trying to harm you, you still come out ahead in the end!  You’ve gained insight into something that although painful, has made you a better person (for realizing and then doing something about it).

 

2) Don’t Lash Out — I’ve learned this from experience, it never ever does anyone good to lash out after you are personally criticized.  A thoughtful response, sure.  No response, probably even better.  But lashing out, just don’t.  Some things to remember when you are faced with inflammatory criticism:

  • Don’t show real rage or anger
  • The other person does not deserve to know they “got” to you
  • Preserve your dignity.  Your dignity is more important than trying to get your point across to someone who isn’t listening anyway

 

3) Don’t Be Blinded — Try to see things from a different perspective.  Put yourself into the belief system, life, and proverbial shoes of the other person.  Are you being unnecessarily or unknowingly offensive?  It’s good to have strong opinions about things, but sometimes not everything needs to be said.

There are times in the past when I wish I had just kept silent.  I’ve done horrible things ** oh confessions** … I’ve stepped on too many toes to count, with careless words and angry passions.  I can write this truthfully because I have made mistakes with every one of these points.  Thank God I’ve learned and have made some drastic changes.  I hope it gives you Readers some comfort and love.

criticism

When Love is Real & When Love Dies

I’m a romantic at heart.  I love to see people find each other, to see a good relationship, or to see a marriage that I look up to.  The problem with my romanticizing is that its not a viewpoint that always lines up with reality.

Although we want to think that love is easy, or is a mere feeling, or even a strong passion between lovers, it seems clear to anyone who’s been in a long-term relationship – and especially marriage – that love is most definitely a choice.  Scott Peck, author of the Road Less Traveled, has said that he believes true love doesn’t even start until a couple is out of the honeymoon phase of their relationship, and he didn’t mean their actual honeymoon.  Really loving someone happens when you choose to do things in their best interest, even when you don’t feel like it necessarily.

I’m not saying that the feelings of love totally die after a certain time point in a long-term relationship such as a marriage, but the high that comes from a new relationship (and infatuation) wears off eventually, and that is when it’s up to the couple to learn to really love.

Being the romantic at heart, I can even romanticize this real love (this takes skill)!  When the infatuation period is over, and those feelings of a natural high are mostly gone from day-to-day, it’s romantic to me to make choices that lead to a strong, real love.  Maybe I can romanticize anything… I’m sure many of you don’t think it’s romantic to be in a marriage and have to do the work of learning to truly love, I know when I was a girl growing up, this was the most unromantic thing I’d ever heard.  I actually thought Scott Peck was wrong – or at least, I hoped he was wrong.

Now I know that loving someone truly is about the most romantic thing you can do.  Real love creates a strong and passionate marriage.

 

Falling Out of Love

Doing the necessary work to achieve this real love prevents a marriage from dying.  When people have affairs, they do it because they are either a sociopath or because something is usually missing from their marriage – a need is not being met in a very real way.  Does it excuse it?  No… but I feel for people who make this horrible mistake.  The affair partner is a fantasy… it’s infatuation and addiction, never at the beginning is it real love.

It’s after the infatuation period wears off that the slow & downward spiral of falling out of love with each other can happen.  Truly loving your spouse means that you take care of each other’s deepest needs… needs for security, conversation, sex, and companionship just to name a few.  When these needs go unmet, the couple is shirking their responsibility to really love each other, and leading the door wide open to the vulnerability of an affair.  It’s like emotionally or physically starving your partner to death.

The amazing thing is that when you do make those choices to meet each other’s needs and build a real, strong love together, you change.  You might not have that intense feeling of infatuation all the time, but the trust and security that you feel from knowing how much you both care about each other leads to immense passion.

It’s intoxicating to be married to someone who cares so deeply about your well-being and emotional needs – it creates the deepest love which to me, translates to an even deeper passion.

Got Problems? You’re in Good Company

“Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure.

  Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom. 

It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and physically.”1

Life is hard, sometimes unfair, and often very much full of little & big problems that everyone eventually will face in different circumstances, and to different degrees.  Both my parents loved The Road Less Traveled, by Scott Peck, so growing up, whenever I faced problems, they had this approach to face your problems, to meet them with discipline, to know that “With total discipline, we can solve all problems.”1

That always confused me… to solve all problems… with just discipline?  I believe it now.  I’ve tested it now.  I still experience it, everyday through the choices I make to either keep problems manageable or at bay (taking care of necessary duties, chores, health, and running a household while still having a life outside it), or to let problems overtake me through general lack of discipline.

When I was working, solving problems was a wonderful part of my job – a part I truly enjoyed contributing to and actually miss everyday.  Usually all the problems that we met were not particularly huge or complicated, it was simply that they took a great amount of time to solve or complete… it truly came down to discipline.  Was I able to stay the course, keep at a dauntingly mundane, yet absolutely necessary task?  Was I able to keep coming at the same problem in efforts to view it in new and different ways in order to come up with a creative solution?

Discipline is hard because it’s painful – either emotionally (sticking to your budget by saying no to unnecessary wants…  or sitting there, doing a mundane task for hours), or physically (forcing yourself to walk or exercise, even when you know you’d rather be doing something else).  Discipline is hard to put into action, but unless you want a life full of needless problems, it is one of those things that must be accepted in life.

Some things I’ve found to be true about problems:

  • The reason why we can’t seem to solve a particular problem is usually related to not spending the necessary time needed to figure out the solution
  • We are more likely to look for an escape from our problems than to actually suffer through them in order to grow spiritually and emotionally.
  • Everyone has problems, but not everyone has the discipline to do something constructive to solve them.
  • As we age, problems certainly don’t go away, but the encouraging thing is that with each new problem, we get a new chance to alter our perspective, to learn to welcome problems as the chance to grow.

 

1 – The Road Less Traveled, A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth, by M. Scott Peck, 1978.

Look Beyond It

When I was growing up, my father decided (since I was a girl) I needed to learn how to defend myself… he signed me up for Taekwondo classes once a week.  At first, I thought it was just ridiculous, and did the typical eye-rolling of pre-teen girls when they argue with their father, taekwondo was hardly cool.  But the instructors loved how quickly I picked up the routines – I had been in dance since I was 4 – and they were fascinated with my long arms & legs (I could kick with ease).  I slowly began to love it.

I did end up learning well how to defend myself, and I kept up with the martial art until I was 16.  There was one time, however, when a kick almost got the best the me.  A particular instructor wanted to use me as an example at a demonstration event at a fair.  He wanted me to kick through a board that he held high above his head (not even joking).  I thought it was impossible… he was already a good deal taller than me, and there he was holding the board I was supposed to break with my foot above his head?

I tried.  My foot bounced off the board, not even making a crack.  My father loves to tell this story because he was watching the whole scene and says he saw my face fall.  The instructor put the board down and explained that I couldn’t just aim for the board, I had to look beyond it.  I couldn’t just kick the board, I had to kick through it in order to break it.

I tried a second time, making my aim a few inches past the board and I heard that satisfying crack of it breaking in two from the force of my foot.  I was ecstatic!  We did the routine at the fair, and the crowd loved it.  We still have those boards. 🙂

It’s interesting that you can apply to this life.  Whenever you’re faced with trials & seemingly endless hard times, you need to look beyond it.

If you only look at your struggles or hard times, you can get stuck mentally – like my foot bouncing off the board – you run the risk of not being able to push through them.  If you face your trials with your aim set beyond them, you see them in a new, enlightened perspective.

No trial lasts forever, but when you focus your eyes on the trial you’re going through, you lose sight of that.  You have to look beyond it.  You have to aim beyond it… so that you can break through.

…  and by the way, don’t mess with this girl,

I know Tae-kwon-do. 🙂