How’s Your Marriage?

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Photo cred: Pixabay

I was unbuckling my kids from their car seats this morning at the Y and overheard a very loud Bluetooth conversation from the car next to me. An exasperated woman was talking to her (soon-to-be ex) husband about why things were “just not going to work out anymore” and how she had “tried and tried to tell (him) many times that (we)needed help.” Now, “it’s too late.” I couldn’t hear his words very clearly but I could sense a pleading and despair in his tone. The woman was most likely in her fifties. I wondered if she fit the common story of being a recent empty-nester now finding herself married to a stranger.

I then wondered about my own marriage and about my friends who are also in-the-trenches-with-littles parents. I wondered about the couples I knew who had kids about to launch into the adult world.

Then I wondered, “We are giving so much to our kids, but are we investing in our marriages?”

Are we remembering to prioritize each other and ourselves before it’s “too late?” Statistics don’t lie. Divorce is non-discriminatory. It doesn’t care if you’re religious, well-educated, stubborn, patient, beautiful, rich or pious. It can find any one of us. I hope that we all can take a sobering moment to evaluate our marriages and be honest about the time and energy invested in them. I hope we can find creative solutions for child care and budget restraints because this is absolutely worth that. I hope that if we need help, we get it. My hope is that we never get to a point where our marriages feel hopeless.

If you’re feeling like you marriage could use a tune-up, consider going to an EFT Therapist. While therapy isn’t always cheap, it’s sure more affordable than divorce and you are worth it. In the meantime, here are some books that may help you get back on track (I would also recommend these to newlyweds):

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^This book offers a basic understanding of what works and what doesn’t work for couples from leading researcher Dr. John Gottman. Gottman’s research has led his team to predict the likelihood of divorce with astounding accuracy. This is a great place to start.

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^My husband and I love the work of Dr. Sue Johnson which is also research-based. This book will take you deeper than Gottman’s work and will be a little more personalized.

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^I’ll admit, I haven’t read this book in it’s entirety but it comes highly recommended from some of  my marital therapist peers. This book seems somewhat of a cross between the Gottman book and the Johnson book.

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^ In my opinion, this is the best Christian-based marriage book on the market today. It was just released in October of 2016. It is from the same author as the formerly mentioned “Hold Me Tight.”

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Let it Slow: A December to Remember

“We dare not get rid of our pain before we have learned what it has to teach us. Most of religion gives answers too quickly, dismisses pain too easily, and seeks to be distracted—to maintain some ideal order. So we must resist the instant fix and acknowledge ourselves as beginners to be open to true transformation. In the great spiritual traditions, the wounds to our ego are our teachers to be welcomed. They should be paid attention to, not litigated or even perfectly resolved.” Richard Rohr

There is a reason why the holiday season can bring out the absolute worst in us. The financial stress of spending. The social stress of time negotiation. The emotional stress of facing old and perhaps never healed wounds.

It’s no surprise that January is a peak month for psychotherapists! All that the year has buried becomes unearthed by the friction of holiday chaos.

Here’s the good news: you don’t have to wait until January to get your feet on solid ground. You can make the choice right now to intentionally live out the remainder of December. Notice, I didn’t say you will get through December unscathed. Pain is an inevitable part of life. As the Richard Rohr quote states above, let’s take this opportunity to learn from the pain.

We don’t need to be afraid of the uncomfortable feelings that may surface this season. We need to face them head on if we are to ever make peace. Putting it another way, Brene Brown, author of Rising Strong and more, says that to speak our shame is to remove its power.

So this season, I encourage you to find the time for daily self check-ins. If you can, jot down what you notice in a journal or share it with a friend. Now may be a good time to choose a trusted partner whom you can call when you start to feel stressed, sad, disappointed, angry, overwhelmed, etc. Remember, the idea is to “speak” the feelings in some way, bring them into the light. The goal is not to erase them or fix anything. Your partner’s job is simply to listen and validate your feelings. Finding such a partner is not always an easy task but you can vow to be this for each other and your commitment to this process is invaluable.

If you would like, here are some prompts to help guide your self-discovery:

1) I’m feeling something unpleasant. (Take a deep breath) I accept that what I’m feeling is valid. This feeling could be called: (sad, lonely, discouraged, etc.)
2) Where do I feel this feeling in my body? (Tightness in my chest, knot in my stomach, etc.)
3) Do I want to call and share or journal about this experience?

I think you’ll be surprised at just how powerful those three steps can be! Also, make sure to listen to my podcast Mountains are for Moving this week to hear some beautiful ideas about how to have a slow and intentional holiday. This episode goes live on Thursday, December 8th, 2016.

Wishing you peace and love this holiday,

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Here are some free downloadable images to use as wallpaper for your smart phone or desktop as a reminder to slow down and stay connected to yourself and others this holiday.

Option 1:

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Once you download this image to your phone, you can adjust the photo to look like this:

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Option 2:

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Once adjusted for your screen, it should look like this:

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Help spread the spirit of slowness and share with your friends!

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Free Printable: Who Matters to You Most?

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Can you believe it? The holiday season is fast approaching (in case the retail stores haven’t pounded that into your head yet) and that means it’s that time of year for busy-ness. Unfortunately, many of us feel like there is just too much to do and too many to please. We feel like we can never satisfy all the demands upon us.

Well guess what? This year, things are going to be different for us. It will be different because we will intentionally choose what our priorities will be before the season pulls the rug out from under us. This year, we will stand on solid ground.

If you haven’t yet grabbed a copy of Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist or The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown or A Mile Wide by Brandon Hatmaker– let me tell you, this would be a great month to pick-up these reads. There is one concept in each of these books that was incredibly centering for me: Know who your people are and focus on them. 

Let’s take this month to really hone-in on who “our people” are. I created a free printable that I hope will help us all to stay focused and centered on our most cherished ones. Sometimes, we get so caught-up in trying to please everyone that we disappoint those who matter to us the most. We know our immediate family will forgive us and still love us, they sort of have to, don’t they?? Sometimes we take advantage of the unconditional love so generously given. This isn’t how we really want to live though, is it?

In January, we will look back on this holiday season and we will be proud of the way that we prioritized and stayed grounded. Most importantly, we will feel more connected to those who we value the most. 

Take Care,

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Here’s the link to your FREE Printable! Fill in the shapes with the names of “Your People” and you are one giant step closer to a more fulfilling holiday season. 

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Episode 0: FYI, We’re Excited

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Mountains are for Moving is where we tell stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. As you can tell, we’re really excited about this and having lots of fun already! My cohost, Susan Ramirez, is hilarious and also the founder of Austin Angels- a nonprofit dedicated to changing the lives of foster kids. I can’t wait to share her story in our very first episode. Whether you’ve heard about this amazing nonprofit organization or not, you are going to LOVE our first podcast episode! Go to our website Mountains are for Moving to learn more and to subscribe! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram @MountainsAreForMoving .

 

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