Category Archives: marriage

three simple things

It’s no secret that relationships require maintenance. Heck, even the best romance hits a rough patch now and then. When a dull or even sharp crisis arises, our primitive brain kicks in and we (predictably) revert back to cave girl fight or flee behavior. Our primitive brain equates conflict with a sabertooth tiger and then we say and do things that we later come to regret. Does it have to be this hard?

In a word, no. In his relationship bible called Getting the Love You Want, Harville Hendrix has  an exercise he uses with troubled couples and it works so well he uses it in his own marriage as a daily practice. I read about this little drill last night before I went to sleep, and I dreamed about it all night. It is, quite simply, brilliant. Hendrix calls the exercise ‘three things.’

When a pair of anguished lovers come to Hendrix to help resolve their disputes, they agree on the “boundaries” of the therapy, and then they begin with the ‘three things.’  Each partner in the relationship writes down a list of ten things that they would like the other to do for them. These are pleasant things that make them feel safe, loved, secure in the lovingkindess of the other. These could be  things like ‘bring me flowers,’ or ‘rub my neck for five minutes,’  or ‘make me toast in the morning.’ Small things, elegant gestures of affection.

Once the lists are made, each partner agrees to do three things each day from the other’s list, as a gift with no strings attached. They perform the tasks as an act of love, not of negotiation or a barter for something else. Often, these are behaviors that each may have performed when they were still in the rosy courtship phase of their relationship, thoughtful things they did when their only intention was to please the other. Sometimes these are gestures that as a child made the person feel totally safe and loved in the world. Hendrix found that as the partners performed these behaviors, their attitudes and feelings began to soften, that love is able to overpower the jealousy or insecurity or anxiety that the ego had become fixated upon, and love became to most dominant feeling once again.

Sounds so simple, right? Instead of digging in, it only takes one to enter choose grace for the other to put his or her guard down long enough to feel those yummy feelings we only want to feel anyway, right? I think that in a healthy, robust relationship we tend to do things to please our partner naturally. But it’s easy to forget. It’s easy to get caught up in kids and cars and careers and yaddah. The best relationships I know are ones where two people consciously make an effort to make the other a priority. But just in case, it’s good to make three simple things a habit. Love, C

My two cents: good habits trump bad habits every time!

♥♥♥

I love this post C, and I so get it.  Abraham says, if there are nine things you like about your partner and one thing you don’t, if you focus on the one thing, the relationship won’t work, but the opposite is also true, if there are nine thing you dislike about your partner and one thing you adore and you focus on that one thing your relationship will flourish.

Sometimes when I have a new client and after I am clear about what we are doing with their hair, I try to get to know them, their life, what is important to them. Hey, I spend a lot of time with my clients and I really develop a relationship with them.  Some people are a little harder to get to know than others.  A great way to really get someone to talk and open up is to ask them about  how they met their spouse or about their  wedding.  You can’t even imagine the glow of someone who is almost time traveling back to a time when they were young and in love, and probably haven’t felt that kind of love for their significant other in I don’t even know how long.

Forget about how much their husband of 25 years just made them crazy out of their minds just this morning at breakfast, ask them about the way that man asked for their hand and he turns into price charming in the here and now.  I have done this on more than one occasion and I have to say it is quite lovely to see the change in the face of someone who just minutes before was tired, feeling old, possibly unappreciated, and not very hopeful, turn into a beautiful girl, so hopeful and full of promise before your very eyes.

I’m not talking about making someone out to be something they are not, what I am suggesting is that you look for the best in your partner, or business associate, or friend.  Focus on the best parts of them. The reasons why they are in your life in the first place.  And by the way you are not doing this for them, you are doing this for you.  When you focus on all the wonderful things about someone you love, someone you chose to spend your whole life with or someone who you pick to be your best friend or maybe your child, it just plain feels good.  Revisit why you decided to love that person in the first place. xo-K

My two cents:  Focus on what is great about the people you love, not for their benefit but just because it feels so good.


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my funny Valentine~

I spent some time with my two sisters this Valentine’s Day. Naturally, they wanted to know what crazy thing I was up to, so I told them I was writing a blog about love, and they both kind of looked at me like ‘but why?’ I could barely explain, and then my darling sister from Oklahoma (we were born three years and a day apart) shared a voicemail with me that she received from her husband of 25+ years and I was reduced to a sappy love puddle and said see? This is what I’m talkin’ about! Mind you, we were near Vancouver, BC, and he was back home in their big, beautiful home on the plains two time zones away, and he called to leave this message in his gruff man voice: “I love you, and I miss you. Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetheart.”  Seriously, the love in his voice about killed me. Also, it totally inspired me. Just thought I’d share. Love, C&K

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secret to a lasting marriage

A friend of mine was telling me of a woman, ninety years old, and married for over sixty-five years. When asked what  her secret for staying happily married for so many years was,  she replied, “There was never a time when one of us wasn’t in love”.  Love that! xoK

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the unimaginable life

I want to give a shout-out to Kenny Loggins, who wrote The Unimaginable Life book and companion cd many years ago. Up until that point I had never witnessed a conscious  spiritual relationship, let alone imagined that it was even possible.    Thanks Kenny, for showing me that I could be on a spiritual path with a partner. xo-K

I prayed every night and day for something to believe, some brand of magic that could lift me up and bring me to my knees, and there you where. “Just Breath,”  —  Kenny Loggins

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happy together

My first example of a happy marriage started off, well at the beginning.  My parents, married right out of high school, first love, still married and in love 47+ years later.  Great example right, so. . . what the heck happened to me?

Here I am at 46, still trying to figure this all out.  I didn’t come from a horrible, broken family.  My family was small but solid.  So why at the age when hormones were raging did I basically proclaim to God, Universe, Angels, or whoever was up there listening, “I’m never getting married!”

I’ve been close  a few times, but because of the whole self fulfilling prophecy thing, I’ve always managed to pick the guys who I seemed to want to marry but for some reason knew on some subconscious level, were safe to get close to, but no cigar.  What the heck was I so afraid of?  I did want to get married right?  I did want to share my life with someone.

I had totally forgot about my teenage proclamation until just a few years ago.  I remember feeling it, and I do mean feeling it.  At that point in time I swore I was never going to get married and there was a lot of emotion and steam behind it.

So I have been trying to figure this out for the last few years and I have come up with a few things that  I thought I’d share.  I think that I was under the impression that all marriages are created equal,  there  is really just one kind:  he gets his way all the time, she has to sacrifice, and so do the kids. (So is it any surprise that I became a single parent and not a wife?  Just asking.)

Thinking about it now, it just seems crazy. It is amazing the impressions made on you as a young child, and how you just take them on without ever questioning them.  I watched my mom all those years and even now,  she doesn’t seem to mind giving my dad his way, catering to him, she even seems to enjoy it.  So what I see as a sacrifice is not for her.  Wait, so there is not just one kind of marriage?  I think that the sacrifice version of marriage is what I’ve been carrying around with me all these years and it didn’t seem fun to me so I wasn’t going to do it.  Wow, that’s quite a revelation.

So after much thought, reading, studying and just talking to my friends and clients, I finally got that all marriages are not the same.  I don’t have to have my parent’s marriage.  OMG, really? It seems so simple but most people go through life on auto- pilot not really knowing that there are choices and options about the way their life plays out. I think this is enlightening.

So now I know that I get to pick, what kind of marriage I want to have.  The way I want to live. I am sure there will be compromises just like with anything but I don’t have to have my parents marriage.  I can find someone who I will be happy with, just like my mom did.  Now, isn’t that  ironic.  xo-K

My two cents:  You can’t look at someone else’s life from your vantage point and get the true picture.

***

I was the first one to get divorced in my family. No wait, that’s not true. My uncle got divorced. Three times. But he was disreputable. He gambled and smoked and told dirty jokes. I wasn’t disreputable, just unhappy. When my marriage was splitting up, my soon-to-be-ex told me, “I would have stuck it out with you.” Gosh, I thought. That’s what every girl wants to hear. But then, I thought I’d already be married again by now. My ex was married within a year of our divorce. To a woman he went to grad school with while we were still together.  I’m happy for them. I hope he sticks it out with her.

I had never been a little girl who dreamed of having a Barbie wedding and marrying Ken. I just assumed it would happen and things would work out, and we’d have a life. My parents have been married forever, and I can’t imagine them apart. My sister has left her husband, but she won’t divorce him. She doesn’t love him, but she won’t defile the sanctity of marriage even though he’s a devil dog and abusive and hurtful.

The thing is, I don’t want to settle for what anyone else thinks is the “right” path. I don’t believe that there’s only one perfect mate out there. I think there are perfect people who are perfect for us at certain points in our life.  This means that you don’t just get one perfect One. You get several perfect ones. And since we don’t know how long we get on this spin around the planet, why not just enjoy the ride and stop worrying about who’s married for how long, and to whom? It will happen when it’s right. And if “forever” means five years or fifty, it’s perfect in its own way. A very smart friend told me recently, “what’s forever in the span of eternity?” I like that perspective, because as it turns out, I’m in it for the long haul. Love, C

My two cents: I’m adopting Abraham-Hicks’ philosophy on love: “I like you pretty good, let’s see how it goes.”


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