22 Plus Years Of Marriage – Our Secrets Revealed – Part 1

I have been thinking about writing this for a while now.  I have been asked by so many people what our secret is to being married for over 22 years that I figured now was a good time to divulge a few of those secrets.   I hope you will find these tips helpful in your own relationship.

I started writing this with the intention of sharing a few of my top favorites but the more I wrote, the more I added.  Therefore, I will make this part 1 of 2.  What I (we) have learned over the past 22 years could probably fill a book.  But today’s list will definitely get you started.  YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS PART 2, I GUARANTEE!!  Therefore, I encourage you to sign up to receive notifications of when I put up new posts so you don’t miss part 2.  I would also like to invite you to share this with everyone on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.  You can do so easily by clicking one of the buttons at the bottom of the post.  You never know who’s lives you may improve with this information.  I appreciate it.

I think the most important thing to realize is that love is not that “butterfly feeling” you get in the pit of your stomach.  If you believe that, you will never sustain true love.  Love is not a fairytale and (because you don’t want it to end), doesn’t have a “happy ending.”   Butterflies will come and go.  It is in the times when they are not there that the most rewarding part of love is found.  If you can keep this in mind, you are off to a great start.  Those butterflies may last for just a couple of months or maybe even a couple of years.  But as soon as things aren’t going as you planned, they may disappear.  It doesn’t mean you stopped loving the person and it doesn’t mean you can’t get those feelings back.  It just signifies a change in the relationship.

Love is found in your thoughts, not your heart.  It is constant work, and as with anything worthwhile, it requires great effort.  So, without further delay, on to the first set of tips:

  • Bring up any issues immediately.  There will be plenty of issues, I guarantee.  Both parties were raised in different environments, by different people who had different rules, values and parenting/role model techniques.  Therefore, expect to see things completely different from your partner.  When feelings arise, talk about them.  Don’t let them fester.  The more you dwell on something, the bigger it gets.  Focus on the solution instead.  Approach the other person with kindness with hopes of a resolution, not to lay blame or “call them out” on something.  This has been big for me over the years.  I think too much and sometimes assume there is an issue when there really isn’t.  I get it in my head that he feels a certain way and I’m usually wrong if it’s negative.  Getting it out in the open dispels those theories of mine or helps to come to a solution if I’m right.  The discussion is not heated when it is recognized immediately.
  • Listen!  If you have something that needs to be addressed it’s a good idea to “schedule it.”  I know, that sounds strange, but think about it.  Do you really want to bring something up when the other person is caught up in watching sports or their favorite TV show or perhaps in deep thought about a work-related issue?  Respecting that the person may need time to get to where they can give you their undivided attention goes a long way.  They are more apt to hear you, listen attentively and commit to the conversation and a solution.  If you are approached with something and it is not a good time for you, let the other person know politely that you need 5-10 minutes, even an hour so you can be sure the person has your attention fully.  Never bring something up in front of other people.  There is a time and place, and in public is neither of those.  Make sure you discuss this in advance so neither of you are angry when the person mentions they need time so they can focus on you.  You will really come to appreciate the honesty and the respect.  When that time arrives, make sure there will be little to no distractions (sometimes you may have to wait until you put the kids to bed.)
  • Forgive, don’t hold a grudge.  If you keep bringing up a situation that happened in the past, you will never move past it.  Forgiving, if necessary, gives you both freedom.  You no longer focus on the negative and the problem disappears.  It’s in the past, let it stay there, don’t revisit it.  If the same issue resurfaces, address it as a new situation, not a continuation.  Holding on to the negative will keep you in a negative state.
  • Have patience.  Jumping in with both guns blazing will set you up for failure before the issue is ever resolved.  If you’re angry, the other person will automatically get defensive and then it just becomes a battle over who has better come backs or arguing strategies.  When you show patience toward the other person, there are also less struggles.  You see the person with love and whatever the battle is becomes minor.  Remember that love is not war.  It is not about who wins; it’s about solving things and moving forward toward a better, trusting relationship.  Patience will also help you forgive faster.  One more thing, when you have patience with someone, they are apt to have more patience with you.  We all need that.  When we are patient with each other, there is more room for loving emotions.
  • Speak kind words daily.  Find something nice to say to the other person.  It’s easy to find the negative, like nagging over the toilet seat being left up or the toothpaste lid being left off.  After time, those little things turn into big things if you don’t let them go.  They are not important in the scheme of things.  Finding the good things in your partner will remind you why you are together, make the other person feel more confident in themselves and they will want to be that person for you all the time.  Recognize the little things they do and compliment them.  My husband and I will randomly write each other a poem or tag each other in a cute photo on Facebook.  If one of us accomplishes something, even small, in our day, the other one will mention it with a verbal pat on the back.
  • Find a common interest.  My husband and I used to have favorite TV shows.  We would set the DVR to record them so that we could watch them together, not separately.  This would give us quality time together and show each other that we cared enough to wait for the other person to watch it together.  More recently we started exercising together.  He took up kickboxing, which started to take up a great deal of his free time, and our time together.  So, after much encouragement from him, I tried it.  Now we go together.  It is a common point of interest.  We are spending time together, getting healthier together and it gives us time during the drive to discuss our day, our future and anything that is going on that we may need to get off our chests.
  • Be forever mindful.  Notice which situations set you both off and come up with a plan to catch it before it becomes out of control or ensues in a full blown argument.
  • Don’t place blame.  You are a partnership.  Seek to solve, together.  Placing the blame on the other person as I mentioned earlier, sets them on the defensive.  It will not get you any closer to a resolution.  If you are being petty, it will make you feel better in the moment but really, think about it, when you place the blame, then you become at fault for something.  Is that where you want to be?  As well as not placing blame, do not belittle the other person or throw shortcomings in their face.  They are who they are.  You fell in love with them for the good but agreed to accept the not-so-good.  I’m sure you can come up with a list of examples a mile long but try not to.  I’ll just give you one of mine so you get the idea.  My husband usually has a hard time waking up on his own.  He forever sleeps through his alarm or hits snooze for the umpteenth time.  He is due to get up at least an hour before me.  Do I enjoy being woken up to several alarms and being half awake for an hour longer than I need to be?  Not really, but I make sure I don’t let it affect how I treat him.  I recognize this about him and I have found that if I simply say his name, my voice is enough to wake him up so he can hear the alarm and start his day.  He also knows that if I sleep through it, he has to face whatever consequences there are for him being late.  He just deals with the natural consequences and I never bring it up.  I know he doesn’t do it on purpose to make me angry.  These are the types of things you need to understand will happen and you just need to come to a compromise or help the other person to the best of your ability.
  • Laugh together.  I cannot stress the importance of this.  Laughter is crucial.  We must be able to laugh together, laugh at each other and laugh at ourselves.  Finding the comedy in everything around you relieves stress and when you do it together, you share the lighter side of life and it seems a lot less serious.
  • Don’t try to change the other person.  Again, you fell in love with who they are.  Love them for that.  If there is something they are doing that could damage their health, then I would say, yes, that’s a change that may need some instigating but always approach with love and from the heart.  Otherwise, this leads back to you pointing the finger and finding fault with them.  No one likes to feel attacked for who they are or the things they do.  They are unique.  Support their differences and stand up for them if necessary to anyone else who may want to put them down.
  • Ask for help.  Have this conversation with your partner early on as well.  There will come a time when things will be overwhelming for one of you.  If you have discussed that this will happen before it does, no matter the circumstances, asking for help will be a lot easier.  Give each other permission in advance to ask for that help and assure them that you will not see it as a sign of weakness, but as strength to admit they are human and cannot do everything on their own.  Then agree to help in any way you can when they do ask so you maintain their trust.
  • Have preset rules with the kids!  Whether the kids are yours, theirs or both of yours, discuss each of your views on certain situations involving your children.  Lay guidelines.  Post rules on the fridge for all to read and clearly state what the consequences are for each infraction.  It may be necessary to have separate lists for different age groups.  That way, there is no running to the other parent for salvation.  The rules are the rules.  I have to admit; this is something we learned that we wish we would have done.  We never actually incorporated it and regret it.  It would have saved many struggles between us and with the boys.
  • Take turns!  We had our first child a year and a half after we got married.  Who was going to change the diaper next always turned into a screaming match for us.  Don’t let this happen for you.  It’s not something to fight over.  Be courteous and take turns.  No one likes it.  If you work as a team on this and other things that are not pleasant, they will get done and the teamwork will provide a stronger bond and a greater respect between you both.

I feel like I have taken up enough of your time for now.  I have written most of the second half of this and look forward to sharing it with you.  YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS PART 2!!  Please watch for it by signing up to receive notifications.  They don’t do anything with your information except use it to send you my notifications.  It takes very little time and effort.  In the meantime, while you await part 2, please share this with everyone you know.  Let them know part 2 is on it’s way.  My husband and I would love to hear that because of these tips, others have made their relationships into what they dreamed it could be.

Please comment below and let us know which number is your favorite and why.  Remember, I have more to follow but you may also leave one of your suggestions that has helped you with your marriage.

(Please check to the right to see if the second part of this has been posted by checking the post listings or categories and also look for other tips and techniques that will reduce your stress and give you greater inner peace and happiness.  Thank you as always, for stopping by and THANK YOU FOR SHARING!)  ❤

10 Famous Quotes On The Importance Of Your Thoughts

I have gathered 10 famous quotes below that are based on thoughts and how what we think can become our reality.  Read each one slowly and with thought.  Do not let their meanings or intentions pass you by.

Your thoughts have the power to change who you are, or enhance it for the better.  You can also spiral in the opposite direction if you are not careful.  Be mindful of your thoughts as often as possible, then, be even more mindful.  (Ok, that’s not a famous quote, I wrote that.  But who knows, it could be famous some day!)

“Change your thoughts and you will change the world.” – Norman Vincent Peale

“What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill

“To bring anything into your life, imagine that it is already there.” – Richard Bach

“Your imagination is the preview to your life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein

“The only limits in our life are those we impose upon ourselves.” – Bob Proctor

“A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master gardener of his soul, the director of his life.” – James Allen

“Your thoughts are the architects of your destiny.” – David O. McKay

“All that we are is a result of what we have thought.” – Buddha

Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thought that is forever flowing through one’s head.” – Mark Twain

“A man is but a product of his thoughts.  What he thinks, he becomes.” – Gandhi

(Thank you for stopping by.  If you wish to read more tips, hints and inspirations that will guide you to more inner peace and happiness, please see the posts listed to the right and search my category section.  As always, feel free to follow this blog or share it with those you care about.  I appreciate you!)

You Can Run But You Can’t Hide

Have you every just wanted to run away, escape your problems or pack your bags and go on a long vacation  so you didn’t have to deal with what was going on in your life and finally find that happiness you’ve been searching for?  Have you ever thought that perhaps you would be happier if you just left everything behind and started over by moving to another state or country?

Life can be a lot to handle.  It throws you some crazy fast balls, straight at your face sometimes.  Escaping it is only temporary.  Unless you solve the issues that are there, they don’t go away.  They will follow you wherever you go.  After close inspection, you will realize that it was not your problems you were running from, it was how they made you feel.  And, after all, your feelings go with you wherever you are!

Drowning your problems with a bottle of wine or binging on a bunch of comfort food may help temporarily but as soon as the alcohol or sugar is out of your system, there’s the issue you ran from staring you straight in the face.

The only way to get rid of a problem is to face it or solve it.  Although I cannot give you the answers to solving each of your issues, I can tell you from experience that the only way to be at peace is to search for it from within.  It is possible.  You have all the tools you need inside you.  You can even find happiness during times of tragedy.

You must first take care of what is in front of you.  Tackle or face the issues that have you stuck.  Know what is within your control.  It is important to remember that not everything can be solved by us.  Sometimes things need to work themselves out or require someone else’s effort to fix them.

What you can do on your end is find what it is that makes you happy.   Happiness is a state of mind, not a thing.  You can keep trying to fill your life with new “things” but things don’t bring you happiness.  The thoughts you give them do and eventually the newness wears off and the happiness will wear off too.

Choose happiness.  It can be found without spending money, consuming food or alcohol or moving to another state.  Find it in everything you do; spending time with family and friends, a walk in the park, memories, relaxation, exercise, yoga, writing in a journal, watching your favorite show on TV, engaging in a hobby, accomplishing a personal goal, finding gratitude for what and who is in your life or just sitting still focusing on something that makes you happy.

Remember, you can run, but you can’t hide from your problems.  You can however,  still find happiness where you are.  It’s a state of mind.

Where do you find your happiness?  Can you offer other readers ways to find happiness that doesn’t require running away, spending money or the quick fix of alcohol or food?  I would love to hear from you.  Please respond in the comment section.

(For further ideas, tips and videos that inspire peace and happiness, please check out the lists of posts to the right or search through my blog topics.  Please share with others who you think could use a little more peace and happiness in their lives.  As always, I appreciate you!)

Advice That Turned A Painfully Shy Girl Into A Confident And Outgoing Woman

I am still told the stories of when I was little of how I would cling to my mother’s legs and bury my face whenever someone tried to talk to me.  I was labeled as “painfully shy.”

I remember being in Kindergarten and covering my ears and putting my head on the desk because it was too loud and overwhelming for me.  I didn’t have friends so I stayed to myself.  I was going to school at a military base and kids were always coming and going; yet another reason to not make friends in my eyes because the ones I did have, always ended up moving.

As I grew, that didn’t change much.  My father was in the Army and was stationed overseas for several tours.

We moved from the military base he was stationed at to the next town over when I was 7 and I had to start in a new school.  I didn’t know a soul and being shy didn’t help that.  Due to my insecurities and abandonment issues I started gaining weight.  Children at that age were not very kind to children who are overweight.  I was going to weight loss classes with my mother by the age of 8 or 9.  My self-esteem plummeted further.

At the age of 13, I became interested in boys and the one I liked the most spent most of his time at the local rollerskating rink so that’s where I begged to be as often as possible.  I had a few close friends by this time who were willing to go with me so my mother saw it as a good thing and let me go whenever I had someone to go with, in hopes I would overcome my shyness and meet new people.

My mother knew I was struggling and had always tried to help me but I needed to want to help myself.  I started to notice how outgoing the kids at the rink were and wanted to be like them but had no idea how and I desperately wanted to gain the attention of this boy.

My mother gave me some very valuable advice that turned my life around.   She said that if I followed these steps that I would be sure to make more friends and have no problem talking to this boy.  Here’s what she said;

  • Always keep your head up.  Do not look at the ground unless you are afraid you might trip over something.  Look several steps ahead of you.
  • Whenever you pass someone, look them straight in the eyes, smile like you mean it and say hi.  It’s okay if they don’t look back or respond.  Don’t take it personally.
  • Compliment people but be genuine.  If you see something about them that you like, such as; their hair style, shoes, clothes, color of their eyes, tell them.
  • Don’t worry about what other people think of you.  Don’t listen when they tell you, unless it’s nice.
  • Be kind to yourself.  If you judge yourself harshly, you would judge others harshly and that’s no way to make friends.
  • Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with someone.  That’s how you get to know new people.
  • Forgive easily, don’t hold a grudge or try to get even.  If someone does something that you do not agree with, this rule doesn’t mean you have to remain friends with them, but it is important that you still forgive.
  • Push yourself.  Sometimes you will want to give up or not listen to this advice because you are embarrassed, feel insecure or don’t believe it will work.  Instead, just push yourself to do it.

I took this advice but very slowly and it took a long time to incorporate all of it, but I did it.  Eventually, the walls came down and I made many new friends.  No one seemed to judge me.  If they did, I didn’t notice.    By the age of 15 I was working at that skating rink.

Are you ready for this?  “Miss Painfully Shy” became a DJ at the same rink at the age of 16.   Yes, me, talking on a microphone in front of hundreds of people almost every day of the week!  I now have my own mobile DJ business.

I’ve had times in my life when I have dipped back into the shy person I once was but I don’t stay there long and sometimes it’s only for an hour or so.  I have learned to love interacting with people.

I am so grateful for the advice my mother gave me all those years ago and I am so glad I decided to follow it.

(Oh, in case you’re wondering about that boy?  We kissed once but really just remained great friends.  To this day when I see him we still stop and talk.  I hope if he reads this he doesn’t know it was about him.  lol)

What is some really good advice you took from someone that changed your life for the better?  Please don’t be embarrassed to share.  We’re all friends here.

(For more inspiring stories, tips and videos on how to increase the peace and happiness in your life, see the listings of posts to your right.  Feel free to follow this blog and share it with friends on Facebook and Twitter.  As always, thank you for stopping by.  I appreciate you.)

Who Do You Want To Be – An Inspirational Video

I hope you will take the next few minutes to enjoy this inspirational video. In this 3.5 minute video Arnold Schwarzenegger asks the question, “Who do you want to be in your life?  Not what, but who?” He talks about how other people say it can’t be done but you have the power within you to make anything happen. He also discusses fearing failure and the fear of making decisions.   Pay no attention to those who say it cannot be done.  Go after what you want, be who you what to be in life.  The power is yours.  Take it.

Please click through my other titles on the right for other inspiring posts and helpful tips that will guide you to having more peace and happiness in your life.  Please follow this blog for future updates as well as share with your friends.  Thank you for stopping by!

When Helping Isn’t Really Helping

There comes a point in time when helping someone really isn’t helping them.   You could actually be doing someone a disservice by helping.  How do you know when to recognize this?

We spend many years teaching our children the skills they need to succeed on their own once they are in the real world.  When they have difficulties some parents make excuses and do things for their children.   Most kids choose to learn from the situation but will still expect the parent to get them out of tough spots because things have always been made easy for them.

This leads to an entitlement issue.  They think that the parent owes them.  They will in turn, lash out when the parent steps back and decides they have given them the skills they need to succeed because they don’t want to actually take the action themselves.  It’s easier for them not to.  They have learned how to manipulate situations and parents (and others) to get what they want.  When things are no longer easy and the effort needs to come from within, they resist and fight back.

It isn’t just teenagers who act like this.  I’m sure we can all name a relative or friend or associate who is guilty of acting like this.

Sometimes not helping is the best thing you can do for a person.  It will hurt to watch them suffer for a bit but hopefully the suffering will cause them to act on their own and to own up to and take care of their own responsibilities.

Yes, it is a very kind thing to help others but if they are not truly benefiting from your help, it’s time to stop.

You should also be cautious of helping others just because you will benefit from the situation.  That is not actually doing things out of the kindness of your heart and is not helping either of you in the long run.

Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself  to see if your help is actually what the person really needs:

  • Do they really need help?  Some people only ask for help because they are being lazy.  They can swim but want a life preserver thrown their way so they don’t have to work as hard.
  • Is that person trying to help themselves?  If not, your help is not benefiting the person.  They need to learn to do things for themselves to survive on their own.
  • Is that person grateful for your help?  If they are not, there should be no question.  You should not be helping them.  That’s not fair to you.
  • Are you helping them because you want to help them or because you have to help them?  If you want to help and the above questions are not a no, then by all means, help.  If you feel like it is an obligation, you may want to think twice.
  • Is the reason they need your help due to a situation they have gotten themselves into that was unnecessary?  Perhaps in this type of situation, they should be learning from natural consequences and help should not be given.  If you choose to help, you will be doing both you and them a disservice and bringing unnecessary negativity into your own life.
  • If you did not help them, would they be able to do this for themselves?  If they are unable and their desire is strong to do for themselves and they would be grateful for your assistance, then help in the areas where you can.

Helping is never a requirement.  It is a kind gesture.  You have the right to choose in any situation.  When you feel like your right to choose to help has been taken away, that is not a healthy situation.  You have to decide what is best for you.

You may need to evaluate those you have been helping, why you have been helping them and whether they are actually benefiting from your help or if they would benefit more by learning how to do things for themselves.

I think it’s also important to mention that when you help someone who needs it, be sure you keep a clear line of communication of where the help is actually needed and how the person needs it done.  If you are not doing something correctly, the lines of communication need to be open enough to be able to hear where changes need to be made without feeling the person is being ungrateful.

I have noticed in my own life that I need to step back and let some people help themselves, that it is the only way they will learn what they need to from the situation.  It is not my responsibility to constantly bail people out or think of a solution for them.  In doing so, I have been hindering them from self discovery and the feeling of accomplishment they would receive by doing it themselves.

Tell me, have you run into situations where you realized that you weren’t actually doing anyone any favors by offering your assistance?  What was the outcome?

On The Way To School – What Memories Are You Saving

When my children were young, we were on our way to drop them off at the school when we had an very unexpected surprise. I saw my father’s car parked outside the McDonald’s and decided to take them in quickly to see their grandpa. The excitement was so great that I decided to write the following poem for him to remember the moment.

This was about 12 years ago. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who remembers this encounter. The memory has been kept alive with the words on this screen. I hope you enjoy the poem…

On The Way To School

The children thought

That it was so cool.

They saw their grandpa

On the way to school.

We were driving to the drive-thru window

For soda to drink

When we saw his car parked outside,

Mom asked, “what do you think?”

The kids agreed.

They all went inside.

There he was, eating pancakes

With sausage on the side.

They ran up quickly,

To his surprise,

“Very unexpected!”

You can see it in his eyes.

He hugged them all.

It made their day.

But unfortunately,

We had no time to stay.

Everyone had places to go

And people to see.

But that chance meeting

Filled their hearts with glee.

They told their friends

That it was so cool,

They saw their grandpa

On the way to school.

This is one of the poems featured in my published book of poetry, “Heart Versus Mind: Words That Touch Your Heart.”

I challenge you to start writing your favorite memories down in your own words, in your own style so that you may revisit these happy times, especially when times are tough. It could be your own words that brighter your day.

What do you choose to remember? Write something every day. The act of recording the good moments in your day will also make you reflect on and be grateful for those moments.