Reconnect to Your Spouse! Try These 30 Awesome Tips!

30 Creative Ways to Reconnect to Your Spouse

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Reconnecting to your spouse after the kids leave is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy relationship. Sometimes, once the house is empty, we take our relationship for granted, and allow ourselves to become complacent. Or, if you’re lucky, you’ll see your relationship grow stronger after those pesky kids fly the coop! It can be a new adventure, a re-balancing of time with each other. Sometimes we get lost, and don’t know how to reconnect to our spouse.

Frankly, if my husband and I spend too much time together, we’ll go nut-so! I adore him, and he adore’s me, but too much time together results in us getting on each other’s nerves. Some couples need time away from each other, and some can spend every moment together and enjoy it!

Regardless of which type of couple you are, when the kids leave and the house is empty, we definitely feel the changes. We feel the emptiness, and we internally may start to panic about what to do next. Well, hopefully you and your significant other still like each other after years of raising kids together! Assuming you do, there are some things you can do to reconnect, rekindle, and keep yourself, and each other happy in the relationship!

Starting a New Child-Free Life Together

  1. Spend time apart. This doesn’t mean days and days, although, if that works for you, do what ya gotta do! But, what I mean here is go out with your friends for dinner and a movie, or a concert. Send him off with his friends to go fishing, hunting, play a round of golf, or shoot pool. And, while you’re apart, enjoy that time. It’s really okay to have fun while you’re apart!
  2. Be spontaneous! Don’t just have a set date night. Go on dates whenever the mood strikes you, and change it up. Don’t go to the same restaurant all the time. Try something new! Don’t go to the same spot for a romantic walk. Women, at least I know this is true of me, like variety. So, ladies, if you need to, have a conversation with your husband, and remind him that, while doing things that seem comfortable is great sometimes, doing something different is also fun, and exciting, and makes you happy!
  3. Hold hands. Don’t be stubborn about it. I know some people aren’t into holding hands in public, but I mean, come on! It’s not like you’re getting naked and having sex out on a park bench! It’s just hand holding. Do it!
  4. Work on your emotional connection. This is so extremely, super important! Relationships thrive on emotional intimacy. Furthermore, if you want to have physical intimacy, you must have emotional intimacy first. If your emotional relationship has been neglected, take the time, put in the effort, and reconnect on an emotional level! Don’t get complacent, and don’t settle for being content with the way things are. And, remember, as always, it is never a bad thing to speak up and discuss your needs and wants with your spouse.
  5. Have sex! You knew that was going to be in here, right? While sex, in and of itself, is not the most important aspect of a relationship, it is one of the aspects that needs to be explored, and nurtured. It is another way to emotionally connect, and is the partner to emotional intimacy. And, please, don’t be boring about this. Don’t have sex on the same day, every week, once a week. Be spontaneous, change it up, listen to each other. Oh, and you have the whole house to yourself now. Use it! 😉

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Couples Activities to Try!

  1. Take vacations together. These don’t have to be for weeks at a time, and they don’t even have to be far from home. Sit down, talk about places you’d like to visit, and things you’d like to do together. My husband and I love going camping, and once our youngest is out of the house (or at least old enough to be alone for several days at a time), I have no doubt that we’ll be off camping by ourselves. Surprise your husband and take him on a fishing trip for a couple of days! Surprise your wife and take her to a two or three day spa vacation! Or, just find a cute, little B&B and surprise her (or him) with a few days away!
  2. Hopefully you have similar interests, as well as different interests. How about you try each other’s hobbies?! Does he love to play golf? You may think you’ll hate it, but you never know if you’ve never tried. Does she enjoy painting pictures? Get out those painting supplies and paint a picture with her! Whatever the hobby, pick one, and try it. Even if it’s not for you, you’ve just bonded a little more, and (hopefully) had some fun together! It’s okay to be silly with each other!
  3. Try a new hobby together. My husband and I have actually discussed taking dancing lessons together…we still need to get on that!
  4. Play a game together. Board games, card games, whatever. If you’re both home, and you’re just doing the same old stuff, change it up, and play a game together. My favorite game to play with my husband is Cribbage.
  5. Cook a meal for your SO. Make their favorite meal, or make something new. You can use this meal as a romantic evening, as well. Candles, wine, dancing…right in your own dining room!
  6. So, this is going to sound typical, and boring, but just watch a movie together. Don’t talk to each other. Sit with each other, maybe snuggle, but don’t talk. Just enjoy each other’s company, and whatever movie you’ve chosen. My husband has told me many, many times that he loves that we can sit together, in the same room, either doing different things, or watching a move, and neither one of us feels the need to constantly talk.
  7. Snuggle. Yes. Just. Snuggle. No expectations. Take a break, sit on the couch, or lay on the bed, and just be together. You might fall asleep and take a nap together. You might wind up having sex. None of that is the intention, but whatever happens, be happy with it. The intention is just to be there in the moment with each other.
  8. Okay, so this may sound super corny, but either verbally, or in a notebook, or on the chalkboard in your kitchen, tell each other some positive things about the other, each day. Even one compliment when you start your day is a beautiful, positive way to start! My husband tells me, often, how “cute” I am in the mornings. I remind him of how much I appreciate how hard he works. Keep it positive, then, when something less-than-positive happens, it doesn’t seem so bad, and you’re less likely to focus on the negative.
  9. A great activity for a couple is to do some type of DIY project together, or make some simple, (stress-free) home improvements. It can be a lot of fun figuring out how to do something, work toward a common goal, and when the work is completed, you did it together!
  10. Go to the zoo, or the aquarium. Chances are, you love animals. I mean, who doesn’t? Or, if the zoo really isn’t your thing, go to a botanical garden, an art museum, or a history museum. Add a little variety, and culture to your lives.

Need More Ideas? Try the Dating Divas!

  1. Spend an entire day unplugged! This is pretty self-explanatory.
  2. Get a couples massage. Oh, the bliss!
  3. Double date! Or triple. Find another couple or two who you love spending time with, and plan a fun evening out with your friends!
  4. Write each other a love letter. Super sweet, and a great way to express your emotions because you have the time to really think about the words you want to use.
  5. Go on a picnic. Every community has parks, and areas where you can spread out a blanket, and sit down for a quiet, relaxing lunch or dinner picnic.
  6. Work out together. My husband and I are pretty health conscious, and actually really enjoy going to the gym together.
  7. Go to the theater. Check out a play, or musical. Or, go to a concert together. Just make sure you both enjoy the artist!
  8. Wake up early and watch the sunrise. love, marriage, couple
  9. Go horseback riding on the beach. Okay, maybe I added this because my husband and I actually do ride horses, but it’s really a fun, and relaxing way to spend time together…and breathe in the clean, beach air!
  10. Slow dance. It doesn’t even matter where you are. Just slow dance! Why? Because it’s romantic, because it’s sweet, and it is a guaranteed way to make your spouse (especially wives) feel super special! And a fantastic way to reconnect to your spouse!
  11. Go to a winery or brewery (or both, but maybe on different days), and have a wine/beer tasting. My husband and I have done this before and it’s really fun!
  12. Buy different chocolates, and have a chocolate tasting at home. First of all, chocolate is just yummy, and second, this could turn into other fun bonding activities!
  13. Go to a sporting event! My husband and I love football, and my goal is to get him to a game this year!
  14. Plan an international trip together. Hash out all of the details, and create a plan for saving up for your trip. For instance, my husband wants to take me to Amsterdam one day. This, of course, goes beyond just taking a vacation together. When you go international, you need to do some planning. What country would you and your spouse like to visit?
  15. Write open-when letters. “Open when you’re sad”, or “Open when you’re mad at me”, or “Open when you’ve had a bad day at work”. They all work. They’re all great for making your spouse feel better. They don’t all have to be letters that you open on negative days. Get creative!

Do you think you’re going through a midlife crisis? Check out my article, Top 14 Ways to Beat the Midlife Crisis!

Stop thinking negatively about midlife. Check out How to Change the Way You View Midlife for great tips!

Check out the very best on marriage advice at The Dating Divas!

Top 14 Ways to Beat the Midlife Crisis

Midlife Crisis or New Start

As a midlifer myself, I can tell you that I really don’t like the words “midlife crisis”. They make me cringe. While I completely understand why that term is used often, I believe it puts a very negative spin on a time in our lives when we should be excited about a new start to our lives!

I just turned 41, so I’m a younger midlifer, but I’m feeling it! I have aches and pains where I never had aches and pains before. I don’t sleep as well as I used to, and I get night sweats something fierce! There are many changes that I’ve noticed, however, even when I’m feeling gross after three clothing changes throughout the night, I try to take a step back and evaluate what’s really going on.

New Found Freedom

My favorite thing about my life is that I have a lot of freedom! My two oldest kids are adults, and don’t live at home anymore. My two younger kids are 16 and almost-13, and they’re pretty easy to take care of. They have their activities, and I spend plenty of time driving them around, and spending time with them, but, after dinner is my time. I use that time to do whatever I want or need to do. I update my blog, knit, sew, paint, whatever I want! This definitely wasn’t happening when the kids were younger!

I’ve learned to embrace that freedom, and be thankful for it. Sure, I loved having babies and small children, but, at some point, you have to let go of the desire to take care of other’s. Really! You need to concentrate on yourself, and your relationships! Spouse, significant other, friendships…those are now the relationships that you want to nurture and maintain.

Midlife Blues

This takes me to the whole reason for this post. We all get depressed as we age. It may not necessarily be because we’re getting older so much as life is changing, in general. We don’t have kids to take care of anymore, and we have a lot more time on our hands! It can definitely be depressing, but these years don’t have to be a crisis! Remove the words “midlife crisis” from your vocabulary altogether! You need to reframe the way you think of these upcoming years.

14 Ways to Beat a “Midlife Crisis”

meditate

  1. Meditate – You need to learn how to be calm, and enjoy each day as it comes. Meditation has been proven to actually change the brain, and help us to become more aware of our own emotions. We can then, as we practice meditation, learn how to channel any negative thoughts into more positive one’s. Meditation can help us combat depression and anxiety. One of my favorite guided meditation channels is by Jason Stephenson. His voice is very calming, and he has many different meditations to choose from.
  2. Yoga – Another favorite practice of mine is yoga. It, like meditation, is calming, and relaxing, as well as great exercise! You can tone your body, and learn how to be more in tune with yourself when you practice yoga. My favorite yoga instructor is Adrienne. She has many different options, depending on your preferences, and plenty for the beginner!
  3. Eat Your Way Happy – In order to keep up your energy and stay healthy, eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, and high quality meats for protein. Do your best to stay away from too many carbs and sugar. We all know by now that sugar is the enemy, right? 😉 I’m not saying don’t indulge once in a while, but keep it at a minimum. You want to stay strong and healthy through these years!  healthy foods
  4. Friends –  We all know that friends create a world of awesome for us! As we age, having a great group of friends becomes even more important than ever before! Did you know that having a good circle of friends can actually extend our lives? It’s true! We’re happier, healthier, and less stressed when we have great friends who are there to support us!
  5. Spend Time With Your Spouse – Or significant other. When the kids are little, it can be tough to spend quality time with your significant other. Don’t let your “midlife crisis” stand in the way of reconnecting with your s/o. We all need love and affection, and he or she is going through it too. If you want awesome tips for how to reconnect with your significant other, check out my post, 30 Ways to Reconnect to Your Spouse!
  6. Hobbies – What is it that you’ve been wanting to try, but never had the time? Do you have hobbies that interest you, but you just felt like you wouldn’t be able to fully immerse yourself in them? Well, now’s the time! The kids are old enough to fend for themselves for a while. Take this time to discover a hobby, or two, or ten, that you want to pursue! I love to knit, sew, garden, read, blog, and go horseback riding (it helps that we own a horse). 🙂 Maybe you love to dance. Well, sign up for dance lessons! Take the spouse along, and have some fun together!
  7. Get a Pet – If you don’t already have one, get a pet! Dogs and cats have proven to be great pets for keeping us young, and healthy. Just petting an animal reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. Dogs help get us out of the house for walks. If you don’t want to have to walk a dog, head over to the shelter and get yourself a cat. They’re easy to care for, are independent, but are also great for our health. Their purring has actually been proven to heal infections, and broken bones! Their purring is also therapeutic for us emotionally, as well as therapeutic for them!
  8. Get Outside – You may be feeling down, especially during the colder months, but getting outside into the fresh air is extremely beneficial for you. If you’re looking to boost your mood, step outside and just breathe in the fresh air. Stand in the sun and experience the benefits of it’s bright rays. You’ll find your mood lifted very quickly with the combo of fresh air and sun. Get out and do some gardening, or sit on your porch, or in your yard, and read a book or magazine. Take a walk, or a bike ride. Just get out there!
  9. Talk – Get it off your chest. Feeling anxious, depressed, scared? Talk to your significant other, a parent, sibling, or close friend. Don’t sit around stewing with your thoughts. There are major benefits to talking things out when you are having negative feelings. Those you trust may be able to help you view a problem in a different way, or help with solutions. And, there’s just feeling better after talking and getting those troubles out of your brain.
  10. Journal – If you really don’t feel like talking, or if there are things you just don’t want to tell others, then start a journal, or a private blog. Just as with talking, there are fantastic benefits to writing out your woes and getting them out of your head.  journal
  11. Therapy – Sometimes, we need a pro to help us through difficult life transitions. This is totally OK and you should never feel ashamed of seeking the help of a professional! This is what they’re trained to do.
  12. Accept – This can be difficult for some people. Accepting that you’re going through a midlife crisis may be difficult, but let’s think this through. It happens to everyone. This, just like meditation, and yoga, takes practice. But if you work on it every single day, you’ll get there. 😉
  13. Let Go – In addition to accepting your “midlife crisis”, you also need to learn how to let go of the things that don’t matter. Again, this take practice, but don’t practice one day, and then give it all up the next. You need to be consistent, and you’ll find yourself letting all of the irritating crap go before you know it!
  14. Reframe – This isn’t a midlife crisis. This is a new beginning! Reframe how you think of this stage in your life. I know, I know. We’re getting older. But, we’re not there yet! Guess what? We’re never there. As long as we’re waking up each day, we’re living. Whether we’re 10, 40, or 80, if we’re alive, we have nothing to be sad about! Reframe the way you think about life, in general. We are all aging, so why not take like by the horns and live it? Travel, see your friends, make new friends, visit your kids (and grand kids, if you have them), cook yummy foods, try new things, create your own experiences.

These tips are meant to help you get through some of those tough times that we all inevitably need to get through. Your midlife years don’t have to be a crisis. They can be some of the most amazing, freeing, exciting times in your life! Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get more exclusive content, freebies, and offers!

 

 

How to Change the Way You View Midlife

How to Change the Way You View Midlife

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something from my links, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. 

Let’s get real. Why exactly are the midlife years called a “crisis”? Why are the midlife years associated with something so negative. A crisis is defined as, “a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger”. Its synonyms are: emergency, disaster, catastrophe, and calamity, to name a few.

I don’t know about you, but I am thrilled to be in my

40’s! I’m happier now than I was in my 20’s and 30’s! Sure, when I was younger, I had more energy, and less aches and pains, but there’s no reason why I can’t have plenty

of energy and few aches and pains during my midlife years. Who says it has to be a time of crisis? Society? Screw society!

Issues Associated With Midlife

Let’s take a look at what women go through during these years, physically. We have night sweats, hot flashes, crazy periods, insomnia, fatigue, changes in sex drive, weight gain, urinary urgency, aches and pains in muscles and joints, and dry skin. And what about mentally, and emotionally? Well, we may experience forgetfulness, anxiety, depression, mood swings, and irritability. That’s a lot to deal with! Luckily we don’t all experience all of these symptoms. For example, my only physical symptom that I’m having a hard time with is night sweats. This could change, of course, but for now, that’s my biggest physical issue. And I’d say the main mental/emotional issue is forgetfulness for me.

Create Your Goals

But I do not, I will not, I freaking refuse, to accept that I’m going through a midlife “crisis”! Why? The following is a list of things I have discovered and/or goals I have for myself as I age.

  1. First of all, I have so much more time to myself now that my kids are older. Even though I’m going through some minor symptoms at this point, I now have the time to take better care of myself. If you’re 40-something and have a small child, like my sister does, I truly commend you, because that shit isn’t easy in your 20’s and 30’s, forget about having little ones in your 40’s! Still, you must take care of yourself.
  2. I have discovered many hobbies that I love participating in. It’s still tough to find time for those because I have many interests, and I do still have a pre-teen and a teen to get to and from activities. But I definitely make sure I get some of my own hobby time in the mix. Lately, I’ve been taking horseback riding lessons to get back into the sport.
  3. Weight gain was an issue for me several years ago, as I was going through my late 30’s, but that, in my opinion, had a lot more to do with my bad diet than perimenopause. Yes, our bodies change as we enter midlife, and yes, we can’t pack away the food like we could when we were 20, but guess what? I don’t care if you’re young, middle-aged, or a senior, you can’t be eating garbage and expect it not to affect you. Crappy food will also contribute to worsening menopausal symptoms.
  4. The fourth thing I’ve learned, and probably most important, is that I absolutely must accept what is happening to my body. And I absolutely must take care of myself if I want to not only be around to see my grandchildren grow up, but so I can run around and play with them! I want to have the energy to play, and run, and teach them about our farm, how to ride a horse…you know…all of the fun stuff that nana’s and papa’s get to do!

Achieve Your Goals

  1. I will continue to purposely make time for myself so I can pursue my hobbies. I love to paint, sew, knit, cook, bake, make puzzles, and ride horses! I tend to go through periods in which I’m painting more than anything, or knitting more than anything, but I’m always pursuing at least two of those interests at any given time. And I go horseback riding once a week, at least, sometimes more. This takes care of both 1 and 2, above.
  2. Maintaining a healthy relationship with my husband is extremely important to me. It is not ok with me to get comfortable and content. That’s not enough for me, or my husband. We both are very open with each other about our feelings, and about what we want our relationship to be. This is super, super important, people! Don’t let yourselves get unhappy before you realize that you’re unhappy! Communicate!
  3. While our bodies will naturally go through some changes as we age, there is absolutely no reason why we have to be unhappy with ourselves and our midlife bodies! Our biggest enemy…everyone’s biggest enemy…is sugar! Stay away from the damn sugar! This is imperative! It has been linked to, not only weight gain, but so many other health problems. You just don’t need that drama in your life!
  4. Acceptance. How the hell do we handle this? I mean, acceptance doesn’t always come easily. It takes practice, but it’s essential. You need to accept that you can’t change the fact that you’re getting older. However, we can change how we deal with the changes. We can watch what we eat, and exercise in order to keep our minds and bodies healthy. We can maintain healthy relationships with our significant others, and our friends. We can ensure that time is spent by ourselves do anything we want. Pursue your hobbies, take a nap, go for a walk, play with your dog. Whatever you enjoy doing, do it! Do not allow yourself to get sucked in by what your friends or family want or “need” from you. They won’t get the best you if you aren’t taking care of yourself. So just do it! When we do these things, we’re accepting midlife. Don’t dwell on the negatives.
  5. My final piece of advice is this: do not give more of yourself than you have the energy for, and do not give more of yourself to others who aren’t willing to have a fairly equal give and take relationship with you. Even when my kids want something from me, I ask them how they plan on earning my time. They’re older now, and it’s important to me that they learn and understand that there needs to be a healthy give and take. Luckily, my daughter’s are super awesome and already know how to show me that they appreciate the extra time I spend doing things for them that I don’t necessarily have to spend. I’m also very open and honest with them, and have taught them that my time is my time and not to come asking me for anything when I’m busy doing things I want to do. I have explained that, as a mother, a wife, and a woman, I need to have some alone time in order to be able to take care of them. This has made me a better mom, and has made my girls more empathetic, and sympathetic to other’s needs.

Listen carefully – This is not a crisis! Midlife, menopause, whatever…this is an amazing time in our lives! But you must approach these changes with a positive frame of mind. You have to accept that the unpleasant physical and mental changes are going to happen and then take the best care of yourself that you can! This will help you transition through midlife, and into the senior years with less health problems, less stress, and you’ll have so much more fun! I mean, seriously, once those kids are grown, you have no one to take care of but yourself! You’re free to do anything you want!

My husband and I are pursuing our dream of owning a farm. We both will turn 41 this year, and have so much ambition! We can’t wait to adopt new babies into our family…just no more human babies! *wink* It’s never too late to pursue a dream!

Related Article: Making Choices, Saying “No”, and Taking Care of Yourself

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Seven Effects After Four Weeks of Yoga

Seven Effects After Four Weeks of Yoga

Yoga isn’t for everyone, so they say. But there truly are some amazing benefits to practicing yoga. Increased flexibility and strength, improved energy, reduction in weight, and improved cardio health, to name just a few. Many people also learn how to meditate as a result of their yoga practice. During yoga practice, focusing on the breath is key, as well as on how your body feels in each position. It is important to take your time and focus on your movements with intention so you don’t hurt yourself, and so you don’t push yourself too hard.

I began consistent, daily yoga practice about four weeks ago and have noticed many changes already!

  1. Less back pain – I used to wake up with an aching, lower back, but since I started practicing yoga, my back feels great!
  2. Stronger muscles – I’ve noticed that my biceps, forearms, and calves are all stronger and more muscular.
  3. No neck pain – This is a big one for me! I generally hold a lot of stress in my shoulders and neck, like many people do, and I’ve learned how to keep my shoulders down instead of having them hunched over, and this has resulted in a drastic reduction in neck pain for me.
  4. No headaches – This goes hand in hand with number three. I used to get tension and migraine headaches on a regular basis.  For the last four weeks, I haven’t had a single headache!
  5. Mindful breathing – A fantastic way to reduce stress is to practice deep breathing exercises.  Due to my yoga practice, I have become more mindful of my breathing, especially in stressful situations.  This has resulted in less stress for me.
  6. Increased flexibility – Flexible joints require less energy for movement, and decreases our risk of injury. It also helps increase blood and nutrients to our tissues.
  7. Decreased stress – Overall, I feel less stressed, calmer, more patient, happier, and healthier.

I’ve heard people say that they hate yoga and prefer other methods of exercise. While I can understand that it may seem boring, once you get into it, there’s so much more to it than just exercise. While, yes, it’s beneficial physically, for me, it’s a total body experience.  Mentally, emotionally, and physically. I’m learning how to let go of things that don’t matter, which is essential for living a stress-free life.

Now, I, personally, don’t have the time to go to a yoga class at a gym or yoga studio because I typically have many appointments that I have to drive my family members to.  Therefore, I practice at home.  My absolute favorite yoga instructor is on YouTube.  She’s absolutely adorable, and silly, and so knowledgeable. She has many different videos, (I mean, like, a LOT)! You should go check them out! You can find her YouTube channel at Yoga With Adriene.

 

Making Choices, Saying “No”, and Taking Care of Yourself

Making Choices, Saying “No”, and Taking Care of Yourself

I recently was put in the position of having to evaluate some of the relationships in my life.  People come and go in our lives.  Some will be around forever, like my most amazing BFF who I’ve known for 32 years now, and some will only be around for as long as we need them or they need us.

What’s that saying?  People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

As I’ve grown and gotten older, I’ve come to realize that this saying is so very true.  Some people are in your life to assist you in some way, or so you learn something new.  Some will come into our lives a friend, but exit our lives in a not-so-friendly manner.  This is life.  But what’s the takeaway?  We need to learn how to extract the good from each relationship.

This takes me to my point.  Sometimes, we need to evaluate if a relationship is still viable.  We need to be fully aware of how each particular relationship in our lives effects us.  When there is no longer a mutual give and take, something needs to be adjusted.

I used to have a very hard time with the whole concept of taking care of myself. I have a large family (4 kids, the hubby, the doggies, the chickens…) and I take care of my dad in regards to ensuring that he gets to all of his doctor appointments, and I do his grocery shopping.  I definitely work beyond typical full time hours.

At the beginning of this school year, my youngest daughter began taking horseback riding lessons.  This quickly, as I had anticipated, became a major passion for her.  At a very young age, she showed true empathy for animals (and people), and fell in love with all living things.  I decided that paying for private riding lessons for her would be worth it because of how hard she worked in the group class.

Some of her other activities fell to the side as her priorities changed.  And as her priorities changed, so did mine.  As a homeschooling parent, I follow her direction in regards to her interests.  She isn’t interested in music, art, or team sports.  She wants to be with animals.  All.  The.  Time!  And, guess what?  I’m perfectly fine with that!  She gets plenty of socialization by going to 4H, and through her friendships that have been formed as a result of different activities.

Sadly, there are other friendships that have suffered.  This certainly isn’t because she doesn’t want those friendships, however, she has, at a young age, prioritized her desires and for that, I am so proud of her!  

What I’ve noticed, though, is that there are hard feelings towards me, as the parent, because I do not force her to wear herself down by hopping from one activity to the next in order to be at a friend’s house on a day when we’re already extraordinarily busy.

When a friend expects me to jump through hoops to get my daughter to their home for play time or a sleep over after I have spent, say, four days in a row driving my father and my kids all over the place and taking care of them, it causes me to stop and wonder if this “friend” really cares about what I need.  I’m a human being.  As a human being, I can only do so much and for only so long before I’m worn out.  And, frankly, my family, for me, is much more important than anyone else’s.

It is my obligation to take care of myself so I’m healthy and well rested for those I care for.  My obligation is to ensure that my daughter’s receive the enrichment that they desire for their lives.  I won’t interfere in their choices, as long as they’re making healthy choices.  I am here to facilitate whatever is enriching to them and their lives.

I won’t apologize when my children aren’t able to make it to another child’s house because my child made a choice about where she wanted to be.  I won’t apologize for her growth and her priorities changing, nor will I apologize for supporting her choices.  And I won’t force my children to make different choices because it will make someone else happy.  That isn’t living life.  I don’t teach my children to cater to other’s wishes.  They must follow their own path and make their own choices.  I want them to do what’s best for them, and no one else.  Once they’re adults, and if they decide to get married and/or have kids, then is the time to give more of themselves.

Yes, I teach them how to be a good friend, but at what cost?  I know about having to give up friendships because they were too draining.  There must be a mutual respect and give and take in order to sustain a friendship.

I will encourage my children to follow their dreams, and if that can’t include someone who was previously a part of their life, then those are the decisions we sometimes have to make.  It’s tough.  It’s not fun.  But if we’re made to feel guilty for a decision, then maybe that isn’t the kind of person we want in our lives to begin with.

 

8 Awesome Tips You Need to Create an Awesome Marriage

8 Awesome Tips You Need to Create an Awesome Marriage

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8 Awesome Tips You Need to Create an Awesome Marriage

What’s that? Create an awesome marriage? How do I create an awesome marriage?

Effort, my friends. Lots, and lots of effort, love, patience, and understanding. Sometimes this can take a great deal of practice. But without those components, how long do we truly think a relationship will last?

Many people are very quick to go the divorce route because things aren’t going their way. Well, sorry, buddy! Marriage isn’t about things going your way. It’s about compromise. The ability to discuss, and work out problems in a mature, civilized manner. In this way, we actually create an awesome marriage. We’re not sitting around, waiting for it to appear out of thin air. And if that’s what you’re doing in your marriage, or relationship, you’re going to be waiting a hell of a long time. love

1. Let Go of Expectations

I personally work very hard on not having expectations, but I understand that many people do have expectations and, typically, expectations lead to disappointment.  The thing to learn is how to just be happy and let go of expectations in relationships.  When we have expectations, we feel disappointed when those expectations aren’t met. No expectations equals no disappointment, and this helps to create an awesome marriage. No, this isn’t easy, and I haven’t always worked on this skill, but I find it to be so helpful within my marriage, as well as all of my other relationships! Friendships, relatives, whatever the relationship is, having little to no expectations results in me being a happier person!

How do we maintain a healthy, happy relationship, despite the other person’s faults or annoying habits? Well, you have to create the relationship. It’s not realistic to think that it’ll always be sunshine and rainbows, and it’s also not realistic to run every time there’s a problem. Problems arise, and we have to deal with them appropriately. We also have to accept that living with another person forEVER is not just fun, fun, fun.

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2. Face Reality

I wonder if people get married thinking that they’re always going to have those lovey-dovey feelings for their significant other.  It just isn’t realistic.  Yes, we feel love for our spouse or significant other, we enjoy their company, we care for them and take care of them.  No, the honeymoon period does not remain.  That butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling may not last forever.  But when a couple works at their relationship, a different, deeper, more intimate love grows.

I think that many people become complacent in their relationships and start to focus on the negatives.  It happened to my husband and I for a little while.  We were driving each other crazy!  It happens to us all.  But it was because we were both focusing on the negatives. You’re never (ever) going to find a person who is perfect…a person who doesn’t drive you bananas. It’s not realistic. Want to create an awesome marriage? Be realistic about what you think an awesome marriage should look like.

While we all have issues in our marriages that need to be worked out, and focusing solely on the negatives will hinder forward movement and growth within the relationship. Be realistic, and stop focusing on all of the things that your spouse does that make you want to rip your hair out.

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3. Focus on the Positives

My husband and I have a long history together and have very strong feelings for each other, therefore, it is a priority to each of us that we work on our relationship together, as partners.

I look at my marriage this way…We are life partners and absent any major problem, (such as cheating), it is mine and my husband’s responsibility to work things out.  Obviously if he felt differently, I’d have to be o.k. with that.  Lucky for me he feels the same. And how do we keep ourselves and each other happy? We focus on the positives.

My husband is extraordinarily loyal, giving, and caring. I am a major nurturer. I’m always making sure that he has plenty of good food for his work weeks (he’s away a lot), and that he knows how much I miss him when he’s gone. He helps me run our kids around on the weekends when he’s home. For him, life doesn’t get put on hold just because he’s not at work.

4. Don’t Dwell on Arguments

Think about your siblings or a friend you’ve had for many years.  Would you dump that friend or disown your siblings because you have a difference of opinion or because of a fight?  Most likely not.  We value those relationships and work on them in order to make them last.  Why don’t we, as a society, value our romantic relationships in the same way?

I’ve noticed that people who are unable to maintain long-term relationships all have a couple of things in common: A lack of patience, too much pride, and being too stubborn.  These people are unwilling to compromise.  Let me spell that out for you: c-o-m-p-r-o-m-i-s-e.  It is vital for any relationship.  Friendships, family relationships, and romantic relationships.

The definition of compromise is: an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.

Each side.

You can not have a successful relationship without both people having the willingness to let go of pride, stubbornness, and being willing to compromise.  Sometimes we have to give a little to get a little.  And my advice to those who are unwilling to give an inch…don’t get married.  It’s as simple as that. And I’m mature enough to admit that I struggle with these skills, but I work on them. I put in the effort to be a better person for my husband.

5. Accept Change

Marriage is change.  Life is change.  We all go through changes throughout our lifetime.  It is inevitable that if you hold on to the idea that you just refuse to change for anyone, the worse off you’ll be, because at some point, you’re going to need to allow changes within yourself, even if you’re not married. We can’t change other people, but we can change ourselves and become better communicators, better partners, and better parents.

Marriage isn’t for everyone and I have tremendous respect for those who see that about themselves.  My husband and I have a friend who, at this time, doesn’t want to get married.  He may never want to get married.  He’s happy being a bachelor.  That’s totally cool!  At least he’s not fooling himself or anyone else.  He knows what he wants and makes it known when he meets a woman.  No hiding, no lying, no pretending.

love, couple, marriage

6. Communicate

If there’s something you need, as a person, that’s perfectly fine.  However, don’t keep it to yourself and expect you partner to read your mind. Communicate with your partner!  This isn’t as difficult as you might think.  Just say the words.  Have respect for your partner, discuss your needs and wants clearly, and with care.  And if you’re approached by your partner who needs to express themselves, listen with patience and understanding.

We’re all different and we all need different things.  It took a while for me to get my husband to understand that the things he values about me are different from the things I value about him, and the things I need in order to feel appreciated, for example, are different than the things he needs.  We are individuals.  Once we each learned what the other needed, things became much easier for us.  Yes, we still argue, but we make the concerted effort to argue effectively.

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7. Don’t Confide in Someone Else

We all have a close friend or two who we can confide in, and can bounce ideas off of, but, don’t go to work and complain about your significant other without actually making the effort with your significant other to create a happy life together. While discussing things with one close friend is sometimes needed, creating a situation that could get you into trouble should be avoided. Some people make this mistake by confiding in someone of the opposite sex, and essentially have an emotional relationship with someone else. This is a major no-no!

If, after overcoming stubbornness, impatience, and pride towards each other, you still have issues that simply can’t be worked out, then take the steps you need to take in order to be happy.  But it isn’t respectful, or fair to complain about your significant other to other people, but keeping those thoughts and feelings from your spouse.

8. Do New Things Together

Maybe you enjoy being out in nature. Grab your spouse and go for a walk, hiking, bike riding, fishing, or camping together. Or check out an event that’s happening in your area. We all are on Facebook…which has tons of events all over the place! Explore new and different ways of spending time together! Once the kids leave the house, you’re going to have to learn how to be a couple again, as well as how to spend time apart. My husband and I have always wanted to take dancing lessons together. The sky really is the limit! Get creative and have some fun with each other.

You can find some creative, fun ideas from the Dating Divas website! It’s one of my favorite sites for marriage and family resources!

I adore my husband despite his faults, but focusing on the positives helps tremendously.  Sometimes that’s difficult, but so worth it.  He’s loving, funny, helpful around the house, sweet, kind, understanding and patient (well, he’s working on patience, but making progress), and there is no one on this earth I would rather be with. Does he drive me crazy? Well, duh! But is it worth wasting time focusing on those times?

Try making a list of only positive things about your significant other.  Stay away from the things that annoy you.  Take a week to do it.  Observe him or her each day and really see what they do for you.  You may just be surprised!

And if you’re in need of some help, a fantastic author to check out is Mark Gungor.  Not only is he funny, endearing, and relatable, he’s intelligent and knows what he’s talking about!  You can find his book, “Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage,” here.  If you’re looking for a way to get back to a happy marriage, he’s definitely your guy.

And after you finish here, head on over to 30 Creative Ways to Reconnect to Your Spouse for some inspiration!